Business

Policy

FBI probing Uber over use of 'Hell' spyware to track rival biz Lyft

Beleaguered company says it's 'cooperating' with investigation

By Andrew Silver

18 SHARE

The FBI is investigating allegations that Uber used its "Hell" program to track drivers from rival firm Lyft.

The Wall Street Journal reports that one part of the investigation, led by the FBI's New York Office and Manhattan US Attorney's office, is into whether "Hell" counted as unauthorised computer access.

An Uber spokeswoman told The Register: "We're cooperating and it's worth noting that the program is no longer operational, and that a related lawsuit was dismissed just last week."

She declined to comment further.

Uber has faced myriad legal challenges of late, including a lawsuit from Alphabet. And last month it agreed to twenty years of audits into its privacy practices.

The WSJ reports that there are other ongoing federal investigations, including one into its "Greyball" software that allowed Uber drivers to avoid police or regulators. The report states that public officials in Portland, Oregon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Austin, Texas have been subpoenaed for the investigation, led by the US attorney's office in the Northern District of California and involving FBI agents.

The US Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York declined to comment. A spokesperson for the FBI's Philadelphia office told us: "Per Department of Justice policy, the FBI does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation." Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the city of Austin, Texas told The Register: "No one has been contacted by the FBI or any other agency about this and as of now we have not received any subpoenas or requests." ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

18 Comments

More from The Register

Ignore that FBI. We're the real FBI, says the FBI that's totally the FBI

Don't open that malware mail from the Feds that's not from the Feds, Feds warn

FBI's flawed phone tally blamed on programming error. 7,800 unbreakable mobes? Er, um...

We meant 1,000. Maybe 2,000

FBI to World+Dog: Please, try turning it off and turning it back on

Feds trying to catalogue VPNFilter infections

FBI agents take aim at VPNFilter botnet, point finger at Russia, yell 'national security threat'

Feds warn admins malware is rather tough to destroy

Former FBI boss Comey used private email for official business – DoJ

'I did not have an unclassified FBI connection at home that worked'

Congressional group asks FBI boss Wray to explain Apple lawsuit

How dark can crims really go?

FBI fingers North Korea for two malware strains

'Joanap' and 'Brambul' harvest info about your systems and send it home

FBI chief asks tech industry to build crypto-busting not-a-backdoor

'You guys can build anything if you put your mind to it' is the gist of the argument

FBI says it can't unlock 8,000 encrypted devices, demands backdoors for America's 'public safety'

Where there's a will, there's a Wray

Drone 'swarm' buzzed off FBI surveillance bods, says tech bloke

UAV arms race with drug lords is upon us