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Federal Investigation Conducted on Uber’s tracking of Lyft Drivers
Category: General
Tags: smstrackers smstracking smsmonitoring

It has been reported that Uber has illegally used a software to keep track of its main ride-hailing competitor, Lyft’s drivers in order to gain economic advantage over its competitor by recruiting more drivers to use their services instead of Lyft’s. The Justice Department is now conducting its own investigation to determine the truth behind such reports. The U.S. Attorney’s office in New York’s Southern District and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has stated that the report came from anonymous individuals who wish to remain unidentified due to their lack of authority to discuss such a confidential matter in public.

A representative from Uber has stated that the use of the reported software has been discontinued by the company and that the company is actively cooperating with the authorities in the investigation. As such, the U.S. Attorney’s office has declined to comment on the company’s recent statements. This new investigation is the most recent legal problem that Uber has faced aside from the privacy issues that they encountered in the past months. Other legal problems that the company is facing are allegations of corporate espionage and even the usage of software technology to monitor government operations and actively elude law enforcement efforts. 

This latest investigation however centers on the software inside the Uber app known as “Hell.” This particular software came to public knowledge when a Lyft driver filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Uber alleging that the company developed this spyware which allowed them to pose as customers of Lyft and eventually getting access to Lyft’s computer systems. The software even allows Uber to do location tracking of up to a total of eight Lyft drivers at one time and even getting data on their Lyft identification number. The Lyft ID number was then used to track the drivers’ location, as was alleged in the lawsuit.

The information continued to state that Uber matched the data gathered by the software on the identities of the Lyft drivers and match these to Uber’s internal driver records to identify certain drivers that avail of both services. Once identified, the company then offers certain incentives to such drivers which induced them to work mainly for Uber instead of Lyft. This reduced the number of Lygt drivers and increased the waiting periods of many Lyft customers due to the reduced number of drivers. Thus resulting to decreased earnings for remaining Lyft drivers. According to the lawsuit, this method used by Uber violated the Federal Wiretap Act. Despite the statement from Uber that said lawsuit has recently been dismissed, no dismissal paperwork has been listed in the federal court records. Attorneys for the Lyft driver who filed the lawsuit, Michael Gonzales, cannot be reached as well.

In response to this lawsuit, Uber’s attorneys stated that the lawsuit alleged that the company used “commonly available software” which allows for location tracking in order to allegedly collect the data as stated in the complaint. Such software therefore was generally available to the public therefore the Wiretap Act does not apply and no violation was committed by the company.

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