Justice Department Opens Criminal Probe Into Uber For Deceiving Regulators

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[Democracy versus corporatocratic arrogance. Uber's approach to the rule of law is to just break it and see what happens. *RON*]

Brian Solomon , Forbes, 4 May 2017

Photo by Martin Ollman/Getty Images
Uber continues to put itself in hot water.

Uber's already deep into a fraught civil legal battle with Google. Now it could be called into court against a bigger opponent: the federal government.

According to a report from Reuters, the U.S. Department of Justice has started a criminal investigation into Uber's use of a software tool code-named "Greyball" that helped Uber drivers avoid detection from location transportation authorities in markets like Portland, Oregon where the service was not yet legally allowed to operate. Uber has apparently received a subpoena "seeking documents concerning how the software tool functioned and where it was deployed."

The "Greyball" program came to light for the first time in March, when a New York Times investigation revealed its existence. Uber appears to have collected data through its app and elsewhere, including location, to identify users who might be authorities trying to crack down on the service. Uber reportedly used Greyball in major cities like Boston, Paris, and Las Vegas, and around the world in places like China and Australia.

The news of a DOJ criminal investigation is yet another problem for Uber, the $68 billion-valued ride-sharing startup that has grown rapidly but has cut corners along the way. Read more about Uber's issues here, here, here, and here.

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