Uber announced this evening that it will stop using its “greyballing” tool to prevent local regulators and law enforcement from catching the company violating local taxi regulations.
Earlier this week, The New York Times revealed that the company was using its “Greyball” program around the world to stop a variety of classes of individuals from using the Uber app, including competitors, those looking to harm drivers, and — crucially — government representatives looking to catch the company operating where it was not allowed.
using greyball against government regulators is now “expressly prohibited”
In a blog post, Uber’s chief security officer Joe Sullivan writes that the company has “started a review of the different ways this technology has been used to date,” and that it is “expressly prohibiting its use to target action by local regulators going forward.” The post notes that it will take some time to enforce the prohibition due to “the way our systems are configured.”
Sullivan notes that the technology to show a different version of the app to certain users is useful for a number of purposes ranging from the testing of new features by Uber employees to marketing promotions and fraud prevention.
The post did not acknowledge any wrongdoing or improper behavior on the part of the Uber or its employees for developing and using the Greyball program.