Uber to stop using secret tool to evade regulators

Indo Asian News Service

San Francisco, March 9 (IANS) Cab-hailing app Uber will stop using its "Greyball" tool to evade law enforcement regulators, the company announced, just days after it defended the controversial programme as necessary to protect its drivers from harm.

"We have started a review of the different ways this technology has been used to date," The Guardian reported, citing Uber's Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan as saying in a blog post on Wednesday.

"In addition, we are expressly prohibiting its use to target action by local regulators going forward."

Uber's backtracking comes less than a week after the New York Times revealed that the company had been serving up an alternative (and non-functioning) version of its app to public officials in cities where its service violated regulations.

It also comes shortly after the company reversed course on applying for a permit to test self-driving cars in California.

The "Greyball" programme used geolocation data, credit card information, social media accounts, and other data to profile app users they believed to be involved in sting operations.

It was used in Boston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Portland, and Oregon, as well as France, Australia, China, South Korea and Italy.

--IANS

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