Justice Department opens criminal investigation into Uber: report

The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into ride-hailing company Uber over software that its drivers used to avoid law enforcement, Reuters reported Thursday.

Uber used software called "Greyball" to avoid government officials clamping down on its drivers in areas where the service had not been approved for legal use such as Portland, Ore.

In court documents, Uber's lawyers describe the company's use of Greyball in the city as "exceedingly sparingly," according to Reuters.

The Justice Department and an Uber spokesperson declined to comment for the Reuters report.

The Justice Department investigation comes amid a time of uncertainty for Uber. The company faces claims of gender discrimination in the workplace and increased scrutiny over its treatment of drivers.

The investigation is in its early stages, according to Reuters, which reported that it's unclear how likely it is for any of Uber's executives to be charged for using the software.