Uber’s in More Hot Water — This Time, for Spying on Its Drivers

Apr 14, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

In case you haven’t heard: Uber is not having the greatest year thus far. Between the #DeleteUber movement in January where more than 200,000 Uber users deleted the app, the claims of sexual harassment at the corporate level and more, things could be going a lot more smoothly. Well, it looks like that downward spiral is continuing.

The Information is reporting that the company launched a software-based program called “Hell.” The program worked to track down Uber drivers who were also driving for its direct competitor, Lyft. Hell would create fake Lyft rider accounts and fool Lyft drivers into thinking the riders were located around a city. When the Lyft driver would go, Uber would be able to detect where all the Lyft drivers were within a city.

Because it was able to track Lyft drivers’ locations, Uber was able to see which drivers were driving for both companies. From there, Uber would use that information to incentivize those drivers to drive more for Uber. For example, Hell would give “double-apping” drivers special bonuses for meeting a select number of rides per week. According to the data Hell uncovered, about 60% of drivers were driving for both Uber and Lyft, and as a result, Uber dished out tens of millions of dollars in bonuses each week.

The ride sharing app Uber is seen on a smartphone in front of a binary background, in Bydgoszcz, on August 7, 2016. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The program was launched in 2014 and was used to spy on its drivers until 2016. Uber stopped using Hell after Lyft had raised more than $1 billion in funding and expanded its ride-share network to more cities, hence creating more douple-apping drivers. So, Uber stopped the program so it could avoid expending too much in bonuses to its drivers.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who’s been under fire after video surfaced of him getting in a heated argument with a driver, reportedly praised employees who ran the Hell program. Kalanick would also reportedly comment on how the Hell program fit the company’s culture of “hustle.”

If the allegations about the existence of the Hell program prove to be true, the company could face a number of allegations. According to The Information, a law firm that’s worked with Uber in the past said those allegations could include unfair business practices, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract and violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.