Uber used an internal software program dubbed "Hell" to track drivers working for its biggest rival Lyft until last year, The Information reports. The ride-sharing company allegedly used fake accounts and a workaround to trick Lyft into thinking that the fake riders are in different locations. Using the "Hell" program, the ride-sharing company was able to track Lyft drivers in an entire city through strategically placing fake riders, and later on used a vulnerability in Lyft's software to permanently track its rival's drivers using ID tokens. Uber reportedly resorted to these measures to find out which drivers are working for both Lyft and Uber and then offered incentives to entice these drivers to only work for Uber. The company's efforts were only exposed recently, but just a few key executives and data scientists previously knew about the project.
This is not the first time that Uber reportedly used questionable methods to undermine competition, including its major competitor Lyft. In 2014, it was revealed that Uber organized a street team to interview Lyft drivers and entice them to work for Uber instead. In the same year, Lyft discovered more than 100 Uber employees hired and canceled Lyft rides, jeopardizing not only Lyft but also the drivers working for it through wasting drivers' time and fuel for the canceled rides.
If these allegations are proven true, Uber may be facing another lawsuit soon. According to The Information, Uber's actions can be considered as fraud, misrepresentation, and a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, all of which can be used by Lyft as grounds for a lawsuit. Meanwhile, Uber has been facing lawsuits from numerous parties over the past few months. One of the most notable examples is the lawsuit against Uber filed by Google's subsidiary Waymo that accuses the company of stealing intellectual property related to self-driving cars. Google alleges that Uber is using secret information related to Waymo's development of self-driving cars in the development of Uber's own self-driving vehicles. Moreover, Uber is also accused of manipulating driver payments and passenger fare through discrepancies in the route displayed in the Uber app, which recently resulted in a class action lawsuit against the ride-sharing firm.