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This article was published on May 5, 2017

Justice Department starts criminal probe into Uber

Justice Department starts criminal probe into Uber Image by: TechCrunch
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

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.

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.