FBI Investigating Whether Uber Used 'Hell' Software to Track Lyft Drivers, Report Says

Uber allegedly used its secret tech to monitor its rival's drivers.

Hemant Mishra/Mint

Uber is once again in hot water over alleged use of software to track drivers working for rival Lyft. The software's existence was first reported in February, and now the FBI is investigating its use, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The software was codenamed "Hell," reportedly because it paralleled the "Heaven" or "God View" program used to track Uber's own drivers. Its alleged goal was to find out which drivers were working for both Uber and Lyft, so that Uber could target them with incentives in order to coax them to work for it exclusively.

Uber allegedly created fake Lyft accounts, allowing it to track the locations of Lyft drivers in a given area. It then cross-referenced those locations with data on its own drivers to find out which ones were working for both companies, according to reports. Uber reportedly discontinued the program last year.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the key issue for investigators was whether use of the "Hell" tracking program constituted unauthorized access of a computer.

Uber already faces a Justice Department probe into whether employees violated U.S. laws against bribing foreign officials, and its use of "Greyball" software to circumvent regulators has attracted the interest of federal investigators.

The investigations come as Uber tries to rebuild itself under new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, formerly head of Expedia. The company hopes to change its corporate culture in order to regain the trust of customers after a year of scandals.