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  • Geebo 10:56 am on March 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Uber   

    Uber to stop using Greyball, sort of 

    Uber to stop using Greyball, sort of

    After it was revealed that ride sharing app Uber was using a program called Greyball, to fluster anti-Uber investigators, Uber now claims that they will stop using Greyball, to an extent.

    Uber says that they will stop using Greyball to deceive authorities but will keep the program in effect to test new features, use in marketing promotions, prevent fraud, and to protect their drivers.

    Can Uber actually be trusted to keep their word though? Uber has been embroiled in scandal after scandal after scandal, from something innocuous as defying a taxi protest in New York to unsettling claims of sexual harassment among executives. Uber has not really made a good faith gesture toward its users or employees to try to garner any positive PR. Uber has not appeared to acted genuine in any way, shape or form, since these controversies have started and have even admitted that their drivers are working in areas where they’ve been banned by law. Yet there has yet to be any major consumer backlash against this company that appears to be engaging in bad business practices.

    What will it take for Uber to either ingratiate themselves back in the good graces of the tech world or for them to fall from atop their industry dominance?

     
  • Geebo 11:32 am on March 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Uber   

    Uber embroiled in another scandal for allegedly using cop blocking app 

    Uber embroiled in another scandal for allegedly using cop blocking app

    Rode sharing app Uber has found itself in the headlines again, and once again it’s not for any good reason. Previously, Uber has been in the news for picking up fares at New York City airports during protests against President Trump’s proposed immigration ban. Then they found themselves dealing with allegations of a culture that allegedly promoted sexual harassment among corporate executives. This isn’t even mentioning Uber’s CEO getting into a shouting match with one of Uber’s drivers over working conditions. Now, Uber is being accused of using a program called Greyball that they would use to track investigators who were looking into Uber’s business practices.

    Greyball is said to not only help identify potential investigators and those acting on behalf of these investigators but would also put fake cars called ‘ghost cars’ on their app in order to fool investigators on where local Uber cars are.

    Instead of issuing a mea culpa, Uber is actually defending the use of Greyball by claiming that they’re protecting their drivers from physical harm and protecting Uber itself from its competitors. They even admit that they’re trying to disrupt users who are in collusion with investigators.

    When a company is admittedly active trying to obfuscate its business practices from investigators, it tends to mean that there’s something behind investigator’s allegations. Backpage is a perfect example of this kind of behavior. The question is will Uber’s userbase delete the app over questionable acts, or will they continue to use Uber over a matter of simple convenience?

     
  • Geebo 11:08 am on February 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Uber, Waze Carpool   

    Is this the final deletion for Uber? 

    Is this the final deletion for Uber?

    Ride sharing app Uber was already seeing a downturn in popularity when the company said thy would be picking up fares at New York City airports during protests against President Trump’s proposed immigration ban back in January. After that a ‘Delete Uber’ boycott started asking people to delete the app from their devices. Now, the delete Uber movement has picked up a massive head of steam after sexual harassment claims were made against one of its top executives. Not only are there allegations of harassment but there has been allegations of an alleged cover up as well.

    Uber has hired former US Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the matter, but is it too little too late?

    Currently, Uber is already being sued by Google’s self-driving car division stating that proprietary technology was stolen and used by Uber’s own self-driving car program. Uber competitor Lyft just announced that they were now launching in 50 new cities. Google’s Waze Carpool is also looking to expand into more markets on the heels of Uber’s latest PR nightmare.

    Even if Uber was found to have done no wrongdoing, which seems to be unlikely at this point, have they already worn out their good graces with the public? Could this be the beginning of the end for Uber? With competitors already swooping in to fill any void left by Uber, it sure seems that way.

     
  • Geebo 1:10 pm on January 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Uber   

    Should you be ashamed for using Uber? 

    Should you be ashamed for using Uber?

    (Disclaimer: This blog post is not an endorsement for Uber or any political policy.)

    Over the weekend a firestorm erupted over taxis and ride sharing services Uber and Lyft. Due to President Donald Trump’s immigration policy deemed the ‘Muslim ban’ a number of people started protesting at major airports across the country. The most major of those airports was JFK in New York City. In support of the protests the NY Taxi Workers Alliance announced that they would not be picking up fares from JFK between 6-7PM this past Saturday. In response Uber announced that they would be picking up riders from JFK and that their surge pricing would be suspended during the taxi strike. This resulted in many people taking to social media not only chastising Uber but stating that they were deleting the Uber app as well.

    Uber came out and apologized for the gaffe stating…

    ‘We’re sorry for any confusion about our earlier tweet — it was not meant to break up any strike,” a spokesperson for Uber said. “We wanted people to know they could use Uber to get to and from JFK at normal prices, especially last night.”

    Uber also said that it would create $3 million defense fund to help cover legal, immigration and translation costs for drivers affected by the immigration ban. This hasn’t stopped the technorati from calling for a complete boycott of Uber.

    Unfortunately what some may not realize is that Uber has been a godsend to low-income users who aren’t necessarily serviced by public transportation. In to many locales Uber is the only choice for people who need to get to doctor appointments and the like. So while the tech elite and politically active can afford to delete Uber, not everyone can. If you use Uber, you should not be shamed into using another service just because some of the more reactionary among us now think it’s the devil’s livery.

    If you can afford to boycott Uber then fine, but not everyone is in your financial position to do so. Keep that in mind before shaming someone for using the service.

     
  • Geebo 9:18 am on November 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Uber,   

    Get out and vote! 

    Get out and vote!

    It’s finally here. Today is election day in what is possibly the most important and controversial election in decades. While we’re not here to tell you who to vote for, we do have some information to help you along with the voting process.

    NBC News has a guide to some helpful tech tips for the election including some helpful apps and how to find your voting place with your smart phone. Speaking of technical tips, Google is claiming that they will have election results as soon as the respective polls are closed.

    In case you need a ride to the polls, ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft are offering either free or discounted rides.

    If you’re thinking about foregoing voting today because you’re afraid the election will be hacked, you can put that thought out of your head. Not only is the government on high alert for such an attack, the real threat to hacking the election is good old-fashioned misinformation and misdirection.

    Lastly, please don’t forget that if you’re in line to vote when the polls close they still have to let you vote.

    Now you have no excuses, get out and vote as every vote really does count, especially in this crucial election.

     
  • Geebo 11:54 am on November 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Uber   

    Uber and Lyft surpass taxis in at least one category, discrimination 

    Uber and Lyft surpasses taxis in at least one category, discrimination

    Ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have been taking a bite out of the taxi industry for some time now and with good reason. They’re cheaper, they’re more convenient, and by most anecdotal evidence, the drivers are more friendly and helpful. Now according to a study by major universities, Uber and Lyft have embraced a practice that the taxi industry made infamous, and that’s discrimination against minorities and women.

    The study found that an inordinate number of Uber and Lyft drivers would cancel rides if the user requesting the ride either appeared black or had an African-American sounding name. The way the apps work are, the drivers accept the ride request first then receive the users information including name and picture. It’s at that point that drivers have been allegedly cancelling the rides.

    The ride sharing drivers have also allegedly embraced another practice that has been known to plague the taxi industry. The report claims that when the drivers pick up female passengers, they’ll take longer routes to the destination in order to inflate rates.

    While these ride sharing apps have been heralded as the new way of doing things, it’s starting to appear like the more things change the more they stay the same.

     
  • Geebo 10:28 am on September 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Uber   

    Google set to take on Uber and will probably win 

    Google set to take on Uber and will probably win

    Google has recently made public their own plans to start a ride sharing service not too dissimilar from Uber. Rather than have a fleet of drivers, the Google program will have volunteers who will drive people going in the same direction as them, so it’s more like a hitchhiking program than a ride sharing program, but it still cuts into Uber’s market share and reportedly at a lower price.

    Normally, this would be a good thing as competition usually breeds innovation, that’s not always the case when it comes to the search giant, they usually have a more of a scorched earth policy. Think of all the products that Google got into late in the game like search, email and maps. They took these products that many others had been doing for years, perfected them, and crushed the competition. No one uses Altavista or Mapquest anymore, and when Gmail users see that one of their friends still uses Yahoo mail they tend to roll their eyes at the address.

    While Google’s proposed program might vary differently from Uber’s it could only be a matter of time before Google perfects the ride sharing experience and Uber becomes the butt of tech based humor, much like MySpace became after the dawn of Facebook.

     
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