Editors' pick: Originally published March 3.
Uber employees say the company used a secret program for clandestine snooping that was used to circumvent authorities that did not want the company operating in their region.
Uber's VTOS, or violation of terms of service program, had a snooping tool known as Greyball, according to Uber employees who talked to the New York Times.
According to the unidentified workers, Greyball played into a situation where Uber was violating local government regulations, yet Uber considered investigators' efforts to track the company to be violations of Uber policies.
How prevalent Greyball's use really was remains to be seen, but the news comes after a series of events that led Uber CEO Travis Kalanick publicly to apologize to a driver and admit that he needs leadership help.
Accusations of sexual harassment and bullying, the departure of a key executive due to a prior harassment claim and Kalanick's highly publicized argument with a driver have combined with ongoing customer and driver complaints to create a maelstrom of bad publicity for the ride-sharing company. The developments have led some to wonder if Kalanick will be forced to step down.
In addition, on Friday Uber product and growth vice-president Ed Baker announced his resignation, according to Recode, leaving marketplace head Daniel Gref to take over at least for now.
Recode and Uber board member Arianna Huffington both received identical anonymous emails claiming that Baker had been seen "making out" at a company event three years ago, although there were no allegations of sexual harassment and "the encounter was apparently consensual," Recode reported.