Uber has added, that Greyball has played an extremely important role in the company’s processes, as it has been used for feature testing, marketing promotions, fraud prevention and to protect partners from harm.
Uber, as a $70 billion private company, has enjoyed an outstanding rise until recently. After having a very bad week, Uber has finally admitted, that “Greyball” was used to keep city regulators away, and promises to review its complete Greyball technology.
It has been previously reported, that allegedly, Uber officials remotely provided fake information on drivers to specific individuals. As an example, in 2014 a city regulator could not get an Uber as his app was Greyball-powered, making it possible for Uber to thwart city regulators.
Uber has added, that Greyball has played an extremely important role in the company’s processes, as it has been used for feature testing, marketing promotions, fraud prevention and to protect partners from harm. Therefore, it should be emphasized, that Greyball was never separately developed as an averting system, but to be able to block ride requests from users violating the company’s rules.
Joe Sullivan, the chief security officer at Uber stated in a blog post that it will take some time for the company to change configurations on Greyball. He also confirmed that they are prohibiting its use for blocking the various actions of local regulators. Sullivan has also promised to respond to the numerous inquiries that have been received by the company – numerous organizations requesting an explanation on the technology’s use – saying that they will deal with them, once they have finished their own internal review.
The Greyball scandal and the need for excessive retooling came at a difficult time for the company. The #DeleteUber campaign on social media, which was launched after a series of negative events, have already affected the company’s overall image. The previous charges from a former employee (sexism), and a lawsuit from Waymo over the technology used for self-driving cars‘ sensors – events that all contributed to the halt of Uber’s meteoric rise, where the Greyballing scandal seems like the next drop in the bucket. All these events have us wondering, what could come next? Never a dull moment with Uber!
Furthermore, Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber, has announced that he will be looking for help to change his controversial leadership style and is looking for a chief operating officer. What is for sure, is that this challenging period will surely bring a change to Uber – either defining a new approach to the ride-handling giant’s success, or ending up with more Greyball-like cases in the near future.