Uber used secret spyware to try to crush Australian start-up GoCatch

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GoCatch was a major competitor to Uber when the US company launched in Australia in 2012. At the time, both companies were offering a new way to book taxis and hire cars using a smartphone app.

Two companies with competing products - just the free market at work.

A former senior Uber employee has told Four Corners that the idea behind the use of the Surfcam spyware was to starve GoCatch of drivers.

But one of them decided it will have none of it - there's space only for one of them!

Surfcam allowed Uber Australia to see in real time all of the competitor cars online and to scrape data such as the driver's name, car registration, and so on.

GoCatch would lose customers due to poaching of its drivers draining their supply. With fewer and fewer drivers, GoCatch would eventually fold," the former Uber employee said.

And so, they developed a program to steal the competing company's clients.

The damage that that has done to GoCatch and other businesses is significant and frankly it should have been stopped.

So the government should have intervened in the free market? Heresy.

Surfcam was part of an aggressive strategy Uber pursued under co-founder Travis Kalanick to establish itself globally amid fierce opposition from authorities and the taxi industry.

A company wanted to kill its opposition? Impossible.

Mr Campbell believes local authorities failed to protect Australian companies with the existing laws when Uber entered the country.

As is it supposed to happen under the free market, isn't it? The point is, the anarcho-capitalist utopia cannot exist! If companies are allowed to do whatever they want, they will use every dirty trick available to bury the competition. It's not the better product that wins under anarcho-capitalism (contrary to their claims), but the one that's better able to impose itself onto the competition - such as by aggressive / false advertising, predatory pricing (archive), showrooming (Amazon’s new smartphone, called Fire (apparently meant in the sense of “shoot to kill”), is specifically designed to make showrooming fast and easy. Amazon has even offered $5 rebates to shoppers who scan items at stores, then buy them from the online brute.), hacking (archive), or simply buying them out (archive). I've even heard of companies literally hiring random people off the street to throw trash or make noise around a rival's place - and these are small, local ones - the anarcho-capitalist's dream...Anyway, back to Uber:

An Uber Australian spokeswoman said the company had conducted an audit of the use of Surfcam and it has been prohibited.

So you've killed the competition and now are withdrawing the dirty tactics (since you don't need them anymore). Hooray for the free market!

"We are on record consistently welcoming competition; we have robust policies and guidelines which define acceptable and ethical practices across our global operations for the use of non-confidential, publicly available and commercially available information in compliance with relevant Australian and international law."

Yawn. PR-talk of which even Mozilla would be proud.

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