It’s been a rocky year for Uber, although the ride-hailing app’s troubles started long before 2017. For years, Uber has found itself in the middle of scandals — from issues with drivers to infringing on privacy. However, the one thing we’ve learned about Uber is that it has no boundaries.
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From creating software to spy on its competitor Lyft to tracking the whereabouts of law enforcement officials, the company takes extraordinary measures to put itself at the top.
Check out these six times the company has tracked people.
In the latest Uber news, it was revealed that the company has a secret piece of software called “Hell” that it used to track Lyft drivers.
Between 2014 and 2016, the technology was reportedly used to try to recruit Lyft drivers to join Uber. The system created fake Lyft accounts and would order rides in different parts of a city, which would then reveal information of up to eight of Lyft’s nearest drivers. Because Lyft assigns its drivers unique ID numbers, the software managed to track the habits of drivers and also find out if a driver was working for both Lyft and Uber.
The software was programmed to offer more pickups to drivers working for both companies, and offer incentives to those drivers when they accepted rides in the Uber app.
In March, The New York Times revealed that Uber used secret software called “Greyball” to track local law enforcement who had tried to “clamp down” on the service. Uber would track officials by mapping out where their offices were and targeting the people who most often opened the app.
When one of these identified officials would attempt to use the Uber app, they would be shown a number of cars, which were in fact nonexistent “ghost cars” running on a fake Uber app. If a ride did accidentally pick up one of these passengers, Uber would often call them and ask them to cancel the ride.
In June 2016, Uber rolled out a new update to its app that monitored the speed and other traffic-related factors of its drivers. The feature crunched GPS data from a driver’s phone, turning it into speed information in real time.
This new addition came a year after Uber tested tracking driver actions in Houston. In late 2015, Uber monitored some of the movements of its Houston drivers through a sensor installed on their smartphones. The drivers were unaware of the sensors, which could detect any accelerating or braking.
In 2014, Buzzfeed reporter Johana Bhuiyan rode in an Uber to meet with John Mohrer, a general manager of Uber New York. Upon arriving at the location, Mohrer was waiting for her, sharing with her that he had tracked her using the company’s “God View” tool — which was only available to certain executives and to be used for “legitimate business purposes.”
“God View” was an internal tool that allowed users to track Uber vehicles and customers who had requested a car.