The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has begun a criminal investigation into Uber. The investigation, according to Reuters sources, centers around the so-called “Greyball” tool that helped drivers avoid local transportation regulators. And frankly, it’s about time.
Uber has played fast and loose with the rules since its inception, something that’s finally catching up to the $60 billion ride-sharing company. Since launching in 2010, Uber’s drawn fire for rampant sexism, skirting the rules at every turn, and attempting to use software to spy on drivers (and riders) for a competitive advantage. If anything, the news that it’s just now under criminal investigation serves as the biggest surprise.
For its part, Uber has acknowledged the existence of its Greyball software. It also admits using the software in an attempt to identify and circumvent government regulators where the service had not yet been approved. But after a massive exposé by the New York Times in March, denying the claims probably wasn’t an option.
Having covered DOJ for years, worth noting that vast majority of criminal probes end up nowhere. This seems ripe for civil action if at all. https://t.co/9fpzj4y1zt
— Amir Efrati (@amir) May 5, 2017
For a company with an image problem, Uber’s latest troubles certainly aren’t helping. But the likelihood of charges being filed against the company, or its executives, remains unclear.