Federal investigators are probing an internal program, dubbed “Hell,” that Uber used to keep tabs on its leading competitor, Lyft, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.
“Uber created fake Lyft customer accounts, tricking Lyft’s system into believing prospective customers were seeking rides in various locations around a city. That allowed Uber to see which Lyft drivers were nearby and what prices they were offering for various routes,” the Journal reports. “The program was also used to glean data on drivers who worked for both companies, and whom Uber could target with cash incentives to get them to leave Lyft.”
Federal investigators are reportedly probing “whether ‘Hell’ constituted unauthorized access of a computer”—which is a federal crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the anti-hacking statute Congress passed in 1986.
As the Journal points out, Uber is now facing three separate federal investigations. In addition to the “Hell” investigation, Uber is also facing scrutiny for creating a special version of its app to mislead local officials trying to enforce tax regulations. The third investigation is considering whether Uber violated anti-bribery laws.
I really want to see Travis Kalanick frog marched out of his house by FBI agents in handcuffs.