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Uber Greyball : le logiciel permettant aux chauffeurs d’éviter la police

Le New York Times a révélé vendredi 3 mars que le leader des VTC utilisait un logiciel secret nommé Greyball pour éviter à ses chauffeurs d’être interpellés par les autorités dans les villes où le service n’était pas autorisé ou contesté.

En 2014, BuzzFeed découvrait « God View ». Cet outil permettait à des employés d’Uber de localiser en temps réel les chauffeurs et l’ensemble des utilisateurs à la recherche d’un véhicule, le tout sans autorisation préalable. Cette fois, le New York Times révèle l’existence de « Greyball », un autre outil ayant permis il y a quelques années aux chauffeurs Uber d’éviter les autorités là où le service était interdit ou contesté.

Celui-ci aurait été utilisé jusqu’en 2015, dans certaines villes des États-Unis mais également à Paris, en Italie, Australie, Chine et Corée du Sud. Selon nos confrères américains, Greyball est né en 2014 à Portland, où Uber n’avait pas encore l’autorisation d’opérer et où les forces de l’ordre tentaient alors d’interpeller les chauffeurs en se faisant passer pour des clients. C’est pour pallier à cela que la société aurait mis au point le logiciel.

Greyball utilisait différentes méthodes pour identifier les policiers. L’outil détectait notamment les utilisateurs ouvrant l’application à côté de bâtiments gouvernementaux. Elle pouvait également analyser le profil des clients sur les réseaux sociaux ou même les données de leurs cartes bancaires. Lorsque celle-ci repérait un « faux client », elle lui envoyait des informations erronées sur la disponibilité des chauffeurs.

Uber a lui-même reconnu l’existence de cet outil. Mais la société affirme à l’AFP que Greyball a d’abord été pensé pour garantir la sécurité de ses chauffeurs : « Ce programme empêche les demandes d’utilisateurs frauduleux qui violent les termes de service, qu’il s’agisse de personnes qui veulent s’en prendre physiquement aux chauffeurs, des concurrents voulant perturber nos opérations, ou des opposants qui s’allient avec les autorités pour des opérations secrètes visant à piéger nos conducteurs ».

7 March 2017

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