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Uber and “Hell”

Tom Fox | September 10, 2017

Is it true a rose by any other name is a rose? Does a codename n for a software program or indeed corporate project identify nefarious or even criminal intent? These questions and perhaps some others came to the fore of The Man From FCPA when reading reports that federal authorities in New York are now investigating to see if Uber’s internal company program named “Hell” was illegal. The software program “used software technology to interfere illegally with a competitor” Lyft.

While one might be tempted to say Uber’s continuing negative PR run is simply continuing; this matter, however, is a criminal investigation. The Hell program “worked like this: Uber created fake Lyft customer accounts, tricking Lyft’s system into believing prospective customers were seeking rides in various locations around a city. That allowed Uber to see which Lyft drivers were nearby and what...

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