The New York Times reported Uber used an internal tool called Greyball to determine if a user was a government employee. When users suspected of investigating Uber tried to use the app, it would show them “ghost cars” and all drivers they tried to book would immediately cancel.
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Now Joe Sullivan, Uber’s Chief Security Officer, has responded to the allegations on Uber’s blog. According to him, the tool was not intended to get around local regulations. But he admitted that it could be used as such and the company is reviewing to prevent it from happening:
We have started a review of the different ways this technology has been used to date. In addition, we are expressly prohibiting its use to target action by local regulators going forward. Given the way our systems are configured, it will take some time to ensure this prohibition is fully enforced.
This is the latest incident in Uber’s glut of bad publicity. Recently, a former employee accused the company of abetting sexism, and CEO Travis Kalanick was caught on camera fighting with one of the company’s drivers.