The city of Portland, Oregon, went through an extensive investigation to assess the level Uber reached to bypass regulations. Authorities paid particular attention to the technology the ride-hailing company uses called ‘Greyball.’ This tool knows how to identify and select certain riders in the system to automatically reject their call for service. These personae non gratae are usually ride service regulators whose job is to standardize all companies according to the letter of the law.
Uber’s Use of Greyball Was Discovered This Year Yet the Company Continued to Apply This Strategy against Ride Service Regulators
The Greyball tool was first discovered in March 2017. Uber admitted the use of this technology to evade government regulations starting with the year of 2014. The strategy was applied perfectly in several countries such as South Korea, China, Australia, and the United States. At the same time, the ride-hailing organization promised not to use this software ever again.
Uber arrived in Portland in 2014. After the company received approval to become operational in this city, Uber also promised not to resort to Greyall again. However, the Portland investigation found a different reality.
Portland Investigators Haven’t Taken Any Punitive Actions Against Uber Yet
Since the moment the company became active in this jurisdiction in December 2014, the company denied service to 16 official regulators. Other 29 riders didn’t receive any Uber at their requests. They were all enforcement officers of city transportation. All these cases were possible by employing the Greyball technology.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation issued the report with the findings of their investigation. The conclusion scolded the company for relying on these practices to deny contact with any Uber car to officials who carry out law enforcement actions against Uber drivers. However, investigators didn’t apply any sanctions yet encouraged authorities to put more thought into this sort of relationship with a business.
On the other hand, a spokesman for Uber claimed that the company is “pleased the investigation was closed” and that it seeks to remain cooperative with city officials. Uber’s main U.S. rival, Lyft, was also considered in this investigation. However, authorities found no wrongdoing in the way the service operates on a daily basis.
Image source: 1