Uber reportedly faces five federal inquiries

The Justice Department is said to be examining everything from how the ride-hailing company prices certain rides to the legality of some of its software tools.

Dara Kerr
Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
2 min read

The Justice Department has some questions about Uber's business practices.


Uber is learning that chickens come home to roost.

The ride-hailing company is now facing five Justice Department inquiries, according to Bloomberg. Three were identified over the last few months, but two were just revealed on Wednesday.

One of the new investigations is looking into whether Uber violated price-transparency laws after using a tool that charges passengers different prices for the same ride, Bloomberg said. The other is examining the company's role in allegedly using stolen self-driving car technology from Waymo (the autonomous car unit of Google's parent company Alphabet).

This means Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has his work cut out for him. He was hired in August after a litany of scandals forced company co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick to resign in June.

Uber -- with its prior no-apologies attitude and notoriously aggressive former CEO -- upended the taxi industry and became one of the biggest ride-hailing services on the planet, since its founding in 2009. Although this approach helped the company grow, it also courted controversy and lawsuits.

Uber has been sued by everyone from its drivers to passengers to employees to high-level investors over the past couple of years. That's not to mention the massive lawsuit brought by Waymo over allegedly stolen self-driving car technology -- the same issue the Justice Department is now looking into.

Other Justice Department investigations include two separate probes into software Uber developed. One is looking at Uber's "Greyball" tool, which the company used to evade police in cities where the service wasn't yet legal . The other is examining software called "Hell" that Uber used to thwart its competitor Lyft.

The Justice Department also reportedly opened a criminal bribery probe into whether an Uber executive in Asia illegally obtained a copy of a rape victim's medical report, according to Bloomberg. The victim was raped by an Uber driver in India in 2014.

Both Uber and the Justice Department declined to comment.

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