F.B.I. Investigates Uber Software Used to Monitor Lyft Drivers

In another legal headache for Uber, federal investigators are looking into a past program called “Hell” that the ride-hailing company used to compete with rival Lyft.

Comments: 16

  1. No worries, Uber. Look at what we've done and nobody's laid a finger on us.

    Sincerely, Wells Fargo.

  2. Sounds like a law enforcement solution in search of a problem.

  3. Uber is such an evil company, I wouldn't dream of using it. There are probably now at least a half dozen instances of illegal actions.

    Plus, by treating its drivers as contractors, instead of as the employees they really are, Uber deprives them of benefits they deserve. Uber can only get drivers because our economy is so bad for full time jobs, that people feel they have no choice.

    While Uber is cheaper than regular taxis in some cities (partly because they avoid the fees and salaries that real taxis pay), in New York, the difference is trivial.

    Assuming we can afford it, can we please not always pay the lowest price and ignore the consequences of ruining people's lives and the economy?

  4. "Assuming we can afford it, can we please not always pay the lowest price and ignore the consequences of ruining people's lives and the economy?"

    If people cared about not ruining others' lives there would be no Walmart. But there is. And it's the #1 retailer in America.

  5. The service taxis were selling was grossly overvalued: both cars and drivers are easy to come by.

    The emergence of companies like Uber and Lyft has vastly increased the number of available rides. Supply is no longer artificially low, so prices have come down.

  6. The limit in the number of taxi medallions was not an artificial restriction: it was there partly to prevent an excessive number of empty taxis contributing to traffic gridlock in urban streets. Now that we have a LARGE number of driver-only uber cars cruising around downtown streets (positioning themselves for prime locations or driving to pickup spots), traffic congestion is much worse than it used to be. And as a result, people not using uber have to suffer.

    This is a classic example of the tragedy of the commons: if a resource is free and the usage is unchecked, it will be abused. Uber needs to pay for the additional burden it places on others.

  7. For what it's worth -- over the past week I've had rides from both Uber and Lyft drivers in Boston. I asked both drivers how they like driving for Uber / Lyft. Both said they liked it, and it worked well for them. One driver said he drove for both Uber and Lyft, and they were about the same for him. In both cases they helped me and family members make trips that would have been more difficult or time consuming via mass transit, taxi, or personal auto at the times and places we travelled. Both services seem to me to be serving a very valuable role in an efficient manner. The apps they provide are very consumer friendly.

  8. The software developers must come up quickly with how NOT to put Uber on their CV when applying for other jobs, perhaps.

  9. Uber is gold on a resume.

    They employ a lot of highly skilled people in a range of different fields. Their standards are generally very high.

    It's hard to imagine a recruiter passing on a talented candidate because of bad press. It's a huge organization.

  10. Uber has earned it's bad reputation, but I'm skeptical they would have needed to do anything illigal here.

    Assuming that:
    1. Lyft exposes their driver's locations as a part of their service.
    2. Uber can track their own drivers using their smartphone app.

    All Uber would need to do is collect both sets of data and compare them. No cloak or dagger required.

    What they did once they had that data is another question however...

  11. The eighth paragraph of the article addresses the legal issue on the criminal side.

    Uber potentially could also face a lawsuit from Lyft for violating the terms of service of Lyft's app.

  12. At least there are lawsuits and investigations underway. Here in the City of Buenos Aires they just arrived and started operating and all the government has said so far is "they need to pay taxes", but they've been unable to compel Uber to pay taxes or to abide by the law.

  13. I have used Uber myself. It is very convenient, but expensive.

    I am surprised that Uber is even legal in New York City. I had thought that NYC had a highly regulated taxi industry. If someone wants to own a yellow taxi, he must purchase a medallion which is very expensive. I understand a person needs a special taxi license to drive. I am under the impression that these costs and requirements do not apply to Uber drivers which seems very unfair.

    The spread of Uber is destroying the competition.

  14. I've deleted the app of of my phone completely.

    Once a company has proven that it will use its app in nefarious ways, and even run afoul of Apple's terms of service for apps (for which Apple ALSO did absolutely nothing about!), why would I trust the company and put their software on my phone?

    They could be doing anything in there, with my data, selling my location, and I simply cannot trust them.

  15. "One key question, according to one of the people with knowledge of the investigation, is whether Uber engaged in some kind of unlawful computer access as part of its scheme."

    Hello? Uber got where it is by flouting the law at every turn. And by hiring insiders in cities to line the pockets of those who might otherwise do their job for the people. I have and will not ever use Uber and would suggest that every city have its own centralized dispatch using GPS. Take the profit out of it, let city residents be the drivers and make a living.

  16. Needed to get somewhere this week and happily hailed a TAXI.