FBI Probing Uber Over Using 'Hell' Against Lyft

The investigation is focusing on an Uber program that could track drivers working for a service called Lyft

The investigation is focusing on an Uber program that could track drivers working for a service called LyftEPA

Uber is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation over its defunct internal program that spied on competitor Lyft, according to sources.

The program was also used to find out which Uber drivers were also working for Lyft.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States attorney's office in NY are looking into whether Uber used tactics and software to illegally interfere with Lyft, its largest American competitor.

The investigation is focusing on an Uber program, internally known as "Hell", that could track drivers working for rival service Lyft Inc, the WSJ said, citing people familiar with the investigation.

Uber Technologies Inc.is under investigation by federal authorities in NY for its alleged use of a spyware program created to undermine competition for its digital ride-hailing service, according to people familiar with the matter.

An Uber spokesman and the Justice Department declined to comment.

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The paper said that the programme, which was internally dubbed "Hell", was discontinued previous year. Uber previously confirmed the existence of the software but claimed it used it for other purposes, adding that the project has been discontinued since past year. A federal class-action lawsuit filed by a Lyft driver in San Francisco alleges that Uber developed the "spyware" that allowed it to pose as Lyft customers and gain access to its computer systems. However, Forbes reports the judge left the door open for plaintiffs to amend and refile their lawsuit. The FBI and Manhattan U.S. attorney's office are leading the probe into the "Hell" program. The Times has aggressively covered Uber, publishing several damaging stories about the company in recent months, including one about secret software code named "Greyball".

This fresh controversy comes just a couple of weeks after Uber made a decision to try and restore confidence and improve privacy by axing its controversial post-ride tracking feature.

Then, last month, the Justice Department took initial steps to investigate the managers at the company due to their violations against foreign bribery.

The programme was also allegedly used to check up on drivers who worked for both companies.

Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi stepped down from the New York Times Company's board of directors Friday, according to an Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

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