According to report by AFP and the Times, Uber acknowledged the use of a secret software program called "GREYBALL" to steer drivers away from trouble, including sting operations by local authorities to catch lawbreakers.
The so-called secret program to others is a business trade secret, or secret recipe. To Uber, it a valuable "tool".
This is how the secret "tool" works
1. The program denies ride requests to fraudulent users who are violating their 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. And Uber said the program was used in locations where drivers feared for their safety, and “rarely” to avoid law enforcement.
2. Data collected about agents of regulatory authorities was used by the software to “Greyball” them, or mark them as city officials, according to the Times. Greyballed officials trying to use Uber would have rides cancelled and be shown fake versions of the app, complete with maps showing icons of ghost cars appearing to be on the move, the report said. Tactics used included identifying locations of government offices and then making them off-limits with “geofences” erected in mapping software, according to the Times. Ways of figuring out which users might be regulators or police included checking whether credit cards used for accounts were linked to governments or police credit unions, the report said.
When it come to secret tool, it may not necessary be another secret software. It could be something unique to your company and your company is very good at using it.
So what is your company secret tool? An efficient work processes and procedures? Excellent products and support? Competent workforce?