December 28, 2015
Since it was founded, Lyft has been the stiffest competition for car-sharing giant Uber. The two have slightly different business models, but the goals are the same: get people where they need to go for cheaper than it costs to take a taxi. For the last few years, Uber has been the clear winner in this space, but Lyft is slowly gaining traction. Sure, the two companies are competitive, but now it seems that the rivalry has gone from nasty to nastier.
There were reports earlier this month of a security breach in 2014 that affected up to 50,000 Uber drivers. According to a statement made by Katherine Tassi, Uber’s managing counsel of data privacy, on May 13, 2014, a database was breached that contained the names and license plate information of Uber drivers operating in multiple states.
So now you’re probably thinking that this security breach really sucks for Uber, but what does it have to do with Lyft? Well, an early investigation into the breach, performed by Uber, reported that the Internet address associated with the hack could be traced back to Lyft CTO Chris Lambert.
Now Reuters is reporting that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking into whether there’s any connection between Lyft and the Uber breach. The DOJ could not confirm or deny whether they are undertaking a criminal investigation. So far no one has been charged, and Lambert even went as far as to sign a sworn statement saying that he had nothing to do with the breach, made under penalty of perjury.
Uber and Lyft are not known for playing nice in the sandbox together, and this isn’t the first time accusations have been thrown between the two. A little over a year ago, Uber hired Lyft’s former COO Travis VanderZanden. He was actively head-hunted by Uber and Lyft claims that he stole proprietary information from the company before leaving. They sued VanderZandenfor allegedly downloading company files, like strategies and financial information, to a personal account right before he left.
Uber also poached Lyft’s former vice president of operations Stephen Schnell, who worked with VanderZanden at a car wash startup called Cherry, before it was acquired by Lyft. Lyft is suing VanderZanden for allegedly downloading company files, like strategies and financial information, to a personal account right before he left.
It will be interesting to see how what the DOJ investigation finds and what kind of impact is has on Lyft’s future.
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