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· Banned
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"SAN FRANCISCO - Uber has for years engaged in a worldwide program to deceive the authorities in markets where its low-cost ride-hailing service was resisted by law enforcement or, in some instances, had been banned.

The program, involving a tool called Greyball, uses data collected from the Uber app and other techniques to identify and circumvent officials who were trying to clamp down on the ride-hailing service. Uber used these methods to evade the authorities in cities like Boston, Paris and Las Vegas, and in countries like Australia, China and South Korea.

Greyball was part of a program called VTOS, short for "violation of terms of service," which Uber created to root out people it thought were using or targeting its service improperly. The program, including Greyball, began as early as 2014 and remains in use, predominantly outside the United States. Greyball was approved by Uber's legal team.

Greyball and the VTOS program were described to The New York Times by four current and former Uber employees, who also provided documents. The four spoke on the condition of anonymity because the tools and their use are confidential and because of fear of retaliation by Uber."....

· Premium Member
3,130 Posts
Not debating the existence of ghost cars within the rider app, though the reason is most certainly to give the customer the perception that cars are close by and everywhere just waiting for your request. The Authorities excuse, is just that, an excuse! to deceive the rider while getting a pat on the back.

· Registered
1,811 Posts
Not debating the existence of ghost cars within the rider app, though the reason is most certainly to give the customer the perception that cars are close by and everywhere just waiting for your request. The Authorities excuse, is just that, an excuse! to deceive the rider while getting a pat on the back.
But in reality, the deceit is aimed to entrap law breakers...

· Registered
1,811 Posts
There are calls for popular ride-sharing service Uber to be formally investigated, after it admitted deliberately evading authorities in Australia and overseas trying to catch out its drivers before the service was legalised.

It sounds like the plot line of a cheap airport thriller: to counteract authorities trying to book Uber rides to build a case against the service, the fledgling company created software to identify them, and then sent them fake versions of its app populated with "phantom" cars that would never arrive.

Key to its efforts was the so-called "greyball" program, designed to evade authorities trying to build cases against Uber, by identifying the accounts of state authorities - based on data collected from its app and other techniques.

Uber has become famous for disrupting the markets it enters, particularly regulated taxi industries.

But news of the greyballing tactics go much further, showing that before Victoria and NSW decided to legalise the service, Uber was not just operating outside the law, it was actively combating efforts to bring it into line.

NSW Taxi Council chief executive Roy Wakelin-King called for an investigation into whether Uber attempted to frustrate or block a government investigation.

"We are disturbed by the allegations," Mr Wakelin-King said. "Compliance with the law is a fundamental part of doing business in Australia.

"Anyone impeding a lawful investigation should be properly investigated and if found guilty be prosecuted."

Australian Taxi Industry Association chief executive Blair Davies said there had long been suspicions that Uber was engaging in black ops-style techniques.

"In 2014, Victorian authorities cracked down on Uber, and they were successful for about 24 hours," he said.

"Queensland enforcement officers were complaining they'd been black-banned off the [Uber] system.

"Quite frankly, the state governments and the regulatory authorities didn't do their homework and what we've seen overnight are revelations that are absolutely outrageous."

The Victorian government introduced legislation to legalise Uber last month.

Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan did not respond to questions about the state's efforts to sting Uber drivers before the decision was taken to legislate, and regulate, ride-sharing, and whether authorities' efforts to enforce the law had been frustrated.

She said the government had moved to legalised Uber to create a "level playing field" between the app and taxis.

"Not only will this reduce fares and improve services, safety and choice for passengers - it will regulate Uber and make them more accountable for their actions," she said.

"That's why it is so critical the legislation is passed and these safeguards are brought into place as soon as possible."

In July 2015, 24 Uber drivers had prosecutions brought against them by the NSW government, but NSW Roads and Maritime Services said it had to drop the prosecutions because its investigation had been hampered by what it called "evidentiary issues".

Mr Wakelin-King says the Taxi Council was advised by Road and Maritime Services that a number of Uber accounts held by government officers had been cancelled between 2014 and 2015 when the ride-sharing service remained illegal in NSW.

Uber was only made legal in NSW after the passage of new laws in December 2015.

Documents released under freedom-of-information laws show that Queensland public servants believed covert investigations of Uber were frustrated by the company's blocking technology.

Internationally, there have been multiple examples of taxi drivers harassing or even assaulting Uber drivers, and an Uber spokesman told Fairfax its greyball program also protected drivers from physical harm.

"This program 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," he said.

"State and territory governments right across Australia have recognised that ride-sharing has a rightful place as part of our nation's transport mix."

Brisbane Times http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/nat...ics-to-evade-authorities-20170303-guqn4r.html
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