FBI probes Uber over use of “Hell” software to meddle with rivals
According to the reports of WSJ, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is inquiring Uber whether its use of software program—that trailed action of a competitor, Lyft—represents an unlawful meddling with the rival. A spokesperson for Uber verified that it is cooperating with the inspection, further mentioning the program is no more functional.
Earlier this year, The Information had exposed about the utilization of the internal software program by Uber, which mentioned that Uber employed an undisclosed software-based attempt between 2014 and the early period of 2016 to trail how many Lyft drivers were accessible for new rides and their location as well—quoted by an individual involved in the program.
The software, internally dubbed as “Hell,” also allowed Uber to achieve information on drivers that functioned for both the ride-hailing services and could have enabled it to tempt drivers to depart from its rival with cash incentives. As per WSJ, a major of the query for FBI investigation is whether the software program of Uber constituted illegal computer access.
On this, a spokesman of Uber indicated the dismissal of the complaint launched by Lyft drivers for its software usage—in which the lawyers of Uber had alleged the applicant did not make an appropriate case it had intercepted the data with the firm rather asserting the information was “readily available to the common public”. As reported by the Verge, the case was dismissed by the judge but has given the petitioner leave to modify his grievance and file another court.
As per the WSJ, the FBI probing into Hell is being directed by its New York office and the Manhattan US attorney’s office. It also mentions of the latter that it has been tracking an inquiry into anti-competitive approaches at Uber since early 2016, referring to numerous people known with the issue.
Its report consists of few additional aspects about Hell that Uber has never talked about officially. As said by its sources, the company has generated false Lyft accounts and utilized those to hoax the system of its competitor into considering that potential users were looking for rides in different area around a city—letting it to observe which Lyft drivers were close by and what charges they were offering for several routes, apparently so it can put its own prices to challenge its rival and plunder customers.
Investigators will have to evaluate whether such events represent illegal access or as already Uber has desired to fight in the class action proceedings, an example of it accessing information accessible to the public.