No penalties for Uber’s efforts to evade regulations

Saltzman said Uber is no longer using the technology

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 15, 2017, file photo, an Uber car drives through LaGuardia Airport in New York. From lawsuits to allegations of sexual harassment to a federal investigation into claims that it has used a fake version of its app to thwart authorities, Uber has had a rough year. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — In a Thursday afternoon announcement, Transportation Commissioner Dan Salzman said Uber had complied with a subpeona for documents on its use of so-called Greyball technology to evade city regulations before the City Council approved it to operate. Saltzman said Uber is no longer using the technology.

Portland’s Greyball audit report

“Uber has complied with our subpoena and provided the requested information associated with the Greyball tool,” said Saltzman, who oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation. “Through this subpoena process, we have a greater understanding of their activities in Portland, and the extent to which the Greyball tool was used here. Moving forward, we have ensured that no attempts to evade regulators or deny service to riders in violation of City code or law will be allowed in the future.”

According to the announcement, “Uber has since made changes to its company policy explicitly prohibiting its employees or drivers from evading regulators. Furthermore, the City of Portland plans to return to City Council in December of this year with updates to its Private-for-Hire Regulations, including strengthening anti-Greyball language.”

News of Uber’s use of Greyball was reported after the council approved it and other Transportation Network Companies to operate in Portland in 2017. The federal government is investigating whether any law ere broken.

“Transportation Network Companies provide many benefits to Portlanders,” said Saltzman. “As regulators, it is our job to ensure these companies play by the rules, keep passengers safe, and act ethically.”

The Portland Tribune is a KOIN 6 News media partner.