News broke today that Uber has been evading law enforcement in many of its locations with a system that -- depending on the arc of your moral compass -- you might call devious or ingenious. It's called Greyball and it all sounds like the closest thing Uber can possibly get to the creepy privacy-pushing lines of NSA wire-tapping. Here's what we know.
Uber used it to trick law enforcement
This week's New York Times report goes into detail about one of many sting operations that were thwarted by Greyball. It worked over and over and over again, though an Uber spokersperson claimed that it was only used against law enforcement rarely, the Times report describes a systematic approach toward identifying, labeling, and diverting law enforcement from Uber drivers in markets where Uber wasn't welcome.
If a "Greyballed" official attempts to hail an Uber cab as part of a sting operation, the app would immediately cancel the ride hail. The company would then display a fake version of the app to the "Greyballed" phone, complete with ghost cars that don't exist.