Uber announced Wednesday that it will stop using its Greyball program to hinder regulators, just five days after The New York Times exposed the tool. The technology uses data collected from the ride-hailing app to track and circumvent users who violate Uber's terms of service, including competitors and government sting operations.

The company did not specify a timetable for discontinuing the service. Joe Sullivan, its chief security officer, said in a statement that Uber is conducting a review of how the Greyball program was used.

"We are expressly prohibiting [the technology's] use to target action by local regulators going forward," Sullivan said. "We've had a number of organizations reach out for information, and we will be working to respond to their inquiries once we have finished our review."

Uber used Greyball to avoid local authorities who were investigating the company in U.S. cities such as Las Vegas and Boston and in countries including Australia and China, according to The New York Times. Uber said the program also allowed it to test new features, protect drivers from physical harm, and issue marketing promotions.

The move may not free the company from scrutiny, however. Officials in Portland, Oregon, where Uber continued to operate despite regulations banning ride-hailing companies, have called for an investigation of the program. A member of the European Parliament for the Dutch Democratic Party also has called for an investigation by the European Commission.

The news of Greyball comes as Uber struggles with several company mishaps and controversies, including allegations of sexual harassment by a former employee and co-founder Travis Kalanick's outburst at one of the company's drivers.

Published on: Mar 9, 2017