A former Lyft driver is filing a class action lawsuit against Uber less than a month after The Information exposed its controversial “Hell” program. Between 2014 and 2016, the software program allowed Uber to track how many Lyft drivers were available and where, as well as which Uber drivers also worked for Lyft.
The Information reported that Uber created fake Lyft rider accounts and spoofed their location, thereby allowing them to gather data on available drivers. The company reportedly tracked individual Lyft drivers and cross-referenced their movements. If they were found to also work for Uber, the company targeted them with special bonuses to encourage them to abandon Lyft.
This class action lawsuit alleges four counts of privacy invasions. The defendants allege that Uber violated the Electronic Communication Privacy Act by “intentionally collecting, gathering, [and] intercepting” their electronic communications. Uber hasn’t confirmed the existence of its Hell software.
2017 has been a rough year for Uber. In addition to the Hell software allegations, the company’s CEO Travis Kalanick was caught on tape fighting with an Uber driver. The company also faces allegations of widespread sexual harassment, and yesterday, The New York Times published a report alleging that Kalanick met with Apple CEO Tim Cook after Uber’s iPhone app was caught fingerprinting devices, allowing the company to identify individual iPhones, even after the app had been deleted. This clearly violated Apple’s App Store policy, but after his meeting with Cook, and after disabling the fingerprinting, the app was allowed to stay in the App Store.