Uber just admitted it's trying to dodge police while breaking the law

Uber just admitted it's trying to dodge police while breaking the law
Source: AP
Source: AP

Uber's relationship to the government — city governments and otherwise — has always been, to put it lightly, colorful. And now, it's not just city officials Uber has been trying to evade. It's the police.

On Friday, a New York Times investigation revealed Uber has been using a process called "greyballing" — or using software to ban or manipulate users — against police officers and city officials trying to execute stings on Uber drivers. This program was used to foil police investigations in cities like Portland and Los Angeles — and in countries like South Korea, where Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is a wanted criminal.

Dozens of people within Uber allegedly had knowledge of a program designed to foil police investigations.
Source: 
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

In some cases, Uber monitored users who were activating their accounts near municipal buildings. In others, Uber went to electronics stores to find out which phones police officers had bought as burners and then tracked those phones.

When Mic reached out to Uber for comment, we received the same statement given to the New York Times:

"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."

That's all fine and well, but "opponents who collude with officials" is a pretty unique way of describing the police.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Jack Smith IV

Jack Smith IV is a senior writer covering technology and inequality. Send tips, comments and feedback to jack@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Uber drivers at JFK Airport are fighting for their right to pee

Bathroom options for Uber drivers are unsanitary, degrading and illegal. And there are even fewer options for women.

Researchers show Twitter is far faster than the police at predicting riots

Tweets can predict a riot up to an hour before police, but that may not be a good thing.

China is building an incredibly cool "forest city" that will combat pollution

Sustainability and air quality are just the beginning.

Inside the dangerous operation to smuggle free information into North Korea

They use balloons, drones and networks of smugglers — who risk torture to bring flash drives into the DPRK.

Scientists just spotted 2 black holes flirting and dancing like awkward middle schoolers

The two could someday merge to become one.

I can't stop laughing at this amazing iOS 11 glitch that basically turns your texts into Jaden Smith tweets

One iOS 11 bug — god, I hope this is a bug — stands above the rest, and I can't stop laughing.

Uber drivers at JFK Airport are fighting for their right to pee

Bathroom options for Uber drivers are unsanitary, degrading and illegal. And there are even fewer options for women.

Researchers show Twitter is far faster than the police at predicting riots

Tweets can predict a riot up to an hour before police, but that may not be a good thing.

China is building an incredibly cool "forest city" that will combat pollution

Sustainability and air quality are just the beginning.

Inside the dangerous operation to smuggle free information into North Korea

They use balloons, drones and networks of smugglers — who risk torture to bring flash drives into the DPRK.

Scientists just spotted 2 black holes flirting and dancing like awkward middle schoolers

The two could someday merge to become one.

I can't stop laughing at this amazing iOS 11 glitch that basically turns your texts into Jaden Smith tweets

One iOS 11 bug — god, I hope this is a bug — stands above the rest, and I can't stop laughing.