This is awesome.
The Financial Times reports:
Uber on Friday confirmed the existence of a controversial programme that used a fake version of its app to confuse unwitting regulators and competitors trying to order cars.
The secret weapon — codenamed Greyball — has been used during the ride-hailing company’s battles with regulatory authorities and rivals around the world over several years.
It operates by displaying car icons in random locations and automatically cancelling rides requested by ‘passengers’ believed to be regulatory officials or competitors...
Uber said on Friday that it believed Greyball was fully legal. “This programme denies ride requests to users who are violating our terms of service — whether that’s people aiming to physically harm drivers, competitors looking to disrupt our operations, or opponents who collude with officials on secret ‘stings’ meant to entrap drivers,” the company said in a statement on Friday after the programme was reported by the New York Times...
To make Greyball effective, Uber employees researched police officers, local regulators and rivals in each new market, and added them to the Greyball list. The programme began in 2014, and has mostly been phased out in the US where Uber has made peace with regulators in most of its key markets.-RW