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On Friday, The New York Times reported that Uber had developed a tool called Greyball that it used to evade regulators in markets where its ride-hailing service wasn’t legal. Uber defended the use of Greyball to the Times, but this week Uber’s chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, told the BBC that the company will no longer use the tool to evade regulators.
“We are expressly prohibiting its use to target action by local regulators going forward,” Sullivan said.
The tool seeks about a dozen data points on a new user in a specific market, like whether the Uber app is opened repeatedly in or around municipal offices, which credit card is linked to the account, and any publicly available information about the new user on social media.
If the data suggests the new user is a regulator in a market where Uber is not permitted, the company will present that user false information about where Uber rides are, showing ghost cars or no cars in the area.
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