March 3 Ride hailing company Uber Technologies
Inc has for years used a secret tool to deceive the
authorities in markets where its service faced resistance by law
enforcement or was banned, the New York Times reported, citing
An Uber tool called Greyball used data collected from the
Uber app and other methods to find and circumvent officials, the
NYT reported on Friday. nyti.ms/2mmTS88
Asked about the existence of Greyball, Uber said in an
email, "This program denies ride requests to fraudulent users
who are violating our terms of service — whether that's people
aiming to physically harm drivers, competitors looking to
disrupt our operations, or opponents who collude with officials
on secret 'stings' meant to entrap drivers."
A current Uber employee familiar with the program confirmed
to Reuters that Uber had used antifraud techniques to hunt for
suspected undercover law enforcement and regulators. The person
said Greyball had not been used in the United States in more
than a year.
The New York Times said Uber used the methods to evade
authorities in cities including Boston, Paris and Las Vegas, and
in countries like Australia, China, Italy and South Korea.
Greyball, which began as early as 2014, was part of a
program called "Violation of terms of service" (VTOS), aimed at
finding people the ride-hailing company thought were using the
app improperly, the newspaper reported.
Greyball and the broader VTOS program were described by four
current and former Uber employees, who also provided documents,
the NYT said.
(Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil