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Uber is facing criminal probe by the U.S. Justice Department

The Justice Department of the Unites States has begun a criminal investigation on the account of the company’s usage of a software application that helped the drivers to evade local transportation regulations in Uber-restricted cities.

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The transportation network giant, Uber, is facing yet another controversy for the past few months: criminal probe over software used to evade authorities.
The Justice Department of the Unites States has begun a criminal investigation on the account of the company’s usage of a software application that helped the drivers to evade local transportation regulations in Uber-restricted cities.

The ride-sharing app has used the software known as “Greyball,” which helped to identify and avoid government officials who were trying to suppress Uber in places where this service has not yet been approved such as Portland, Oregon.

Right after the New York Times has exposed the existence of the Greyball software, Uber banned the use for this purpose and stated that the program was created to check ride requests to safeguard drivers and prevent fraud.

Uber is one of the most used ridesharing apps in the U.S. with coverage in more than 570 cities worldwide. (Source)

The way that this software worked is by using a few procedures—getting credit card information, performing social media searches and geolocation, and recognizing government-issued devices to determine potential authorities in restricted cities. The users that are a potential threat would see a “ghost” version of the Uber app, with phantom vehicles that were getting canceled in order to avoid detection.

In the end, the company acknowledged the use of Greyball, and even though it’s not being used in the U.S., it is still operated by Uber in foreign markets.

Portland transportation officials reported that the company used the aforementioned software tools in December 2014, to avoid 16 Portland Bureau of Transportation officials and deny them many rides through the Uber app.

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Officials from the city of Portland stated that this behavior was not repeated when the company formally entered the market in 2015 in April.

As it was stated by Uber, the reason why they were operating with the conflicting software was because they were deeply concerned that their drivers would be penalized financially for their driving.

With an international experience in research and analysis, Magdalena joins the team of Born2Invest as the new in-house head of product research and financial analysis as well as a contributor to the website. She obtained her bachelor degree in Business and Economics in her hometown Skopje-Macedonia, and a master degree in Electronic Business Management. As a talented and dedicated student, Magdalena had the opportunity to work abroad in the USA and Mexico complementing her curriculum with valuable skills and know-how, while being part of some prestigious companies in her professional career. With her love for reading and writing, she is one creative individual with a strong opinion on current developments and trending topics from business and financial point of view.

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