Uber reportedly used a software application called Greyball to evade law enforcement officials in cities and countries where Uber is either banned or limited. According to The New York Times, Greyball is used to “identify and circumvent officials,” and has been deployed in cities across the U.S. as well as in France, Australia, China, South Korea and Italy. Uber’s legal team reportedly approved Greyball, which is part of a larger program known as VTOS, or “violation of terms of service.” The use of Greyball was documented by a code enforcement inspector in Portland, Oregon, who posed as an Uber rider. Uber was at the time not authorized to operate in the city. The inspector watched as cars made their way toward him on the app’s GPS system, but they were “quickly canceled” because some of the cars were never actually in the city in the first place. “That was because Uber had tagged [the inspector] and his colleagues—essentially Greyballing them as city officials—based on data collected from its app and through other techniques. Uber then served up a fake version of its app that was populated with ghost cars, to evade capture,” the Times reported.
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