A sweeping investigation by the city of Portland, Oregon, found that Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] used a software tool to intentionally evade 16 government officials whose job it was to regulate the ride-services company, city officials said on Thursday.
When Uber began operating in Portland in December 2014, it did not have any permits, so it used a software tool it had created called Greyball to block regulators from booking rides. Uber stopped using the software after it received approval to operate its service in Portland in April 2015.
The city imposed no fines or other penalties but transportation officials have recommended that the city ramp up enforcement efforts.
“We have ensured that no attempts to evade regulators or deny service to riders” will be allowed in the future, Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman said in a statement.
Portland launched its investigation after the New York Times reported in March that Uber used Greyball to evade government officials in areas where its service had not yet been approved, such as Portland, Boston, Paris and Las Vegas, and in countries such as Australia, China, Italy and South Korea.