The app-based ride-hailing app Uber has been told it will not have its operating licence renewed in London. The current licence expires on the 30th of September, just 8 days away.
Uber have been given 21 days to appeal this decision, and they will be allowed to continue operations until that expires. As things stand, London will be Uber-free as of Friday the 13th of October… Unlucky for some.
Uber currently has roughly 40,000 drivers operating in London. Here’s the official statement Transport for London…
TfL has today informed Uber that it will not be issued with a private hire operator licence. pic.twitter.com/nlYD0ny2qo— Transport for London (@TfL) September 22, 2017
TfL have clearly outlined the areas in which Uber must improve their service. Namely their approach to reporting serious criminal offences, their approach to how medical certificates are obtained, their approach to how DBS checks are acquired and lastly their use of software which prevents law enforcement investigating data within the app.
That last point is particularly interesting. It implies Uber are not currently handing over data to government bodies and law enforcement due to stringent encryption processes within the company.
What is Greyball?
Greyball is highly advanced software which uses location data, credit card data, social media accounts and countless other information sources to pick out individuals who are believed to be working for city agencies, the government or law enforcement. This, in theory, then gives Uber immunity from sting operations, undercover exposées and so on.
The use of this software almost suggests they are hiding something...
Uber defended their use of this service in March of this year by saying that the use of Greyball software; “denies ride requests to fraudulent users who are violating our terms of service – whether that’s people aiming to physically harm drivers, competitors looking to disrupt our operations, or opponents who collude with officials on secret ‘stings’ meant to entrap drivers.”