Just when we thought no company could do more to damage its own public reputation than United Airlines, new allegations against Uber have emerged, reminding us the ride-hailing service shoots itself in the foot seemingly on a daily basis.
The Information published a report Wednesday that claims Uber used a secret project — internally dubbed “Hell” — from 2014 through 2016 to lure drivers away from its main competitor, according to CNET. An anonymous source who was involved with the project told The Information “Hell” used a software program to operate fake passenger accounts on Lyft so it could gather information on its rival’s drivers.
Each account could find roughly eight drivers at any given time, and Uber reportedly falsified the accounts’ positions such that it essentially could track every operator in a city. There also supposedly was a flaw in Lyft’s app that allowed Uber to see drivers’ permanent ID token, and by cross referencing their locations with that of its own contractors, it determined which ones were working for both companies.
What’s more, The Information claims Uber used that information to offer certain incentives exclusively to those operators as a way to steal business from Lyft.
Should these allegations be vindicated, Uber reportedly could be exposed to prosecution for unfair business practices, misappropriation of trade secrets, computer fraud and/or breach of contract, as impersonation isn’t allowed under Lyft’s terms of service.
While Uber hasn’t commented on the accusations, they aren’t that far fetched given the company’s past actions. The tech company recently admitted to using a covert operation, similar to “Hell,” to deceive law enforcement in cities where it wasn’t yet allowed to opperate.
Thumbnail photo via Flickr/Abhijit Bhaduri