Uber tracked Lyft drivers through secret 'Hell' program: report

Uber tracked Lyft drivers through secret 'Hell' program: report
© Greg Nash

Uber used a secret program called “Hell” to track drivers working for its competitor Lyft between 2014 and 2016, according to a report from the technology website The Information.

According to the report, only a small group of data scientists and Uber executives, including embattled CEO Travis Kalanick, knew about the program, the name for which was a nod to Uber's dashboard to track its own users, called "God View" or "Heaven."

The Hell program involved creating fake Lyft accounts and using software to fool the company’s system into thinking the accounts were in a certain location. Uber could then track the nearest Lyft drivers to the fake location.

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According to the report, Hell operators made sure to arrange the locations of the fake accounts throughout a particular city to make sure they could view the entire area.

The program also allowed Uber to track which Lyft drivers were working for both companies, information that Uber used to try to persuade those drivers to work exclusively for them.

The program was reportedly ended around the beginning of 2016.

Uber would not comment for the report, but Lyft said in a statement, “We are in a competitive industry. However, if true, these allegations are very concerning."

The news comes as Uber has been waging a PR battle over recent months after a former employee leveled accusations of workplace sexism against the company and Kalanick was caught on tape yelling at an Uber driver.

Two top executives have also stepped down from the company amid the controversies.