As of late, Uber Technologies seems to have fallen into the metaphorical cliché of taking two steps forward, and three steps back. The U.S. Department of Justice has just opened a criminal investigation into the company’s scandalous “Greyball program,” which it used to sidestep law enforcement officials and regulators. Uber has been digging its own grave for such a long time, it may not be able to get out of it.
In early March of this year, the New York Times revealed the existence of Uber’s program in an explosive report. It explained how the ride-sharing company developed a system to prevent certain individuals who it believed could potentially threaten it, from using the service as either a passenger or a driver. If they tried using the app, instead of things going as they should, those affected would be served up fake cars in order to prevent them from using it.
The kinds of people who would fall into that category were often law enforcement staff and regulators who used the service to put together data about Uber or detain drivers who were operating in Uber restricted areas. In Portland, Oregon, the service is restricted, to which the city might issue a subpoena for Uber to show details of how Greyball was used. Uber has said they’ve since ended the program, but the investigation could potentially bring to light more details on how it operated.
Uber has had huge load of troubles in such a short amount of time, it’s almost record-breaking. With corporate-level sexual harassment/discrimination investigations, sketchy presidential ties, poor handlings of protests, and the CEO being caught on camera being horrible to one of his drivers, this investigation couldn’t come at a worst time. We’ll be on the edge of our seats to see what will happen to the ride-hauling giant.