5 U.S. Cities With the Worst Traffic

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. Cities With the Worst Traffic

Each year, INRIX, a transportation data firm, releases a report that lists the U.S. cities with the worst traffic. Recently, they released a new traffic congestion report. The study ranked cities based on delays caused by congestion on U.S. roads and expressways. It also adjusted the measurement according to each city’s population. INRIX determined the per capita and cost of congestion for each U.S. city as well. The result was a list of the worst cities in which to commute back and forth to work. Read on and discover if your city made the list.

Los Angeles

Credit: franckreporter/iStock

The City of Angels, Los Angeles came in at number five for the worst traffic. Known for its gorgeous weather, celebrities and thrilling night life, Los Angeles also boasts bumper-to-bumper traffic. According to Forbes, if you live in Los Angeles, you can expect to spend 128 hours sitting in mind-numbing traffic every year.

New York City

Credit: B&M Noskowski/iStock

New York City comes in fourth. Yes, it’s one of the greatest cities in the world. And, yes, you can never be bored in New York City. After all, you have theater, dance, art, museums, amazing restaurants and nightclubs all at your fingertips. But that doesn’t change the fact that you can pretty much count on sitting in some horrendous traffic if you don’t take the subway. In fact, if you drive in New York City, you’ll end up trapped in traffic jams for 133 hours each year. If you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere. But if you live somewhere else, you just might avoid sitting in all that traffic.

Chicago

Credit: Gargolas/iStock

Chi-Town. The Windy City. Those are two nicknames for Chicago, the city famous for Oprah, the Chicago Bulls and some seriously good hot dogs. But those aren’t the only things that put Chicago on the map. By the end of the year, Chicagoans have lived 138 hours of their lives sitting in traffic jams. That’s an annual total of $1,920 personal dollars lost.

Washington, D.C.

Credit: WLDavies/iStock

Washington, D.C. is steeped in history. No visit is complete without taking a tour of the White House, visiting the Lincoln Memorial or checking out the Smithsonian Museum. But if you plan to drive around town, be prepared to sit in traffic. By the end of the year, D.C. commuters will waste a whopping 155 hours just sitting in their cars waiting for traffic to inch along. The money each commuter loses equals $2,161 annually.

Boston

Credit: f11photo/Shutterstock

Sorry, Boston. INRIX’s study concluded that Boston has the worst commute times in the U.S. Sure, Boston is a really cool city, a town our forefathers once called home. And it’s the home of the world-famous marathon as well as Fenway Park. Boston also has the worst traffic in the country. During peak commute times, unfortunate travelers can plan on sitting in traffic for 164 hours each year. That’s just like each Boston commuter losing $2,291 annually.

Man Dressed as Elsa from Frozen Single-Handedly Rescues a Boston Police Wagon Stuck in a Snowbank

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF PEOPLE MAGAZINE)

 

Courtesy Drag Elsa
MEGAN JOHNSON

March 14, 2018 01:42 AM

And PEOPLE can reveal “Elsa” is, in fact, Jason Triplett, 37, an attorney from Boston, who says the escapade was the result of cabin fever brought on by the blizzard.

Playing down his heroic feat, Triplett says his fame will be fleeting as snow on a hot day.

“Everyone will be over it by noon,” Triplett tells PEOPLE. “But if this is my 15 minutes, I would like to leverage it to meet Adam Rippon.”

Olympian Rippon will no doubt be impressed with Triplett’s strength and dedication to his costume. The bar’s guests were certainly wowed cheering him on by, yelling “Come on, Elsa! The girl we didn’t deserve” and “Let Him Go.”

As for how the police got themselves in the predicament, the trendy eatery’s manager, Allegra Wolff, explains: “A police officer came in for some burgers and left, but got stuck in the snow.”

“We were super busy, and Elsa and some of her friends came in and were dancing around having cocktails,” Wolff says. “Elsa was the first one to run and prance out and help. It was amazing. He started pushing with all his might, and finally got the car unstuck.”

The Boston Massacre

(THIS BOSTON MASSACRE BY NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE)

 

The Boston Massacre

by Nathaniel Hawthorne


This account of the Boston Massacre, the last pin to drop escalated hostilities between colonists and “the lobster-backs” into all-out war. Published in Hawthorne’s,True Stories from History and Biography (1851).


An illustration for the story The Boston Massacre by the author Nathaniel Hawthorne
Paul Revere, Bloody Massacre on King Street, Boston, March 5, 1770

It was now the 3rd of March, 1770. The sunset music of the British regiments was heard, as usual, throughout the town. The shrill fife and rattling drum awoke the echoes in King Street, while the last ray of sunshine was lingering on the cupola of the town-house. And now, all the sentinels were posted. One of them marched up and down before the custom-house, treading a short path through the snow, and longing for the time when he would be dismissed to the warm fire-side of the guard-room. Meanwhile, Captain Preston was perhaps sitting in our great chair, before the hearth of the British Coffee House. In the course of the evening, there were two or three slight commotions, which seemed to indicate that trouble was at hand. Small parties of young men stood at the corners of the streets, or walked along the narrow pavements. Squads of soldiers, who were dismissed from duty, passed by them, shoulder to shoulder, with the regular step which they had learned at the drill. Whenever these encounters took place, it appeared to be the object of the young men to treat the soldiers with as much incivility as possible.

“Turn out, you lobster-backs!” one would say. “Crowd them off the side-walks!” another would cry. “A red-coat has no right in Boston streets.”

“Oh, you rebel rascals!” perhaps the soldiers would reply, glaring fiercely at the young men. “Some day or other, we’ll make our way through Boston streets, at the point of the bayonet!”

Once or twice, such disputes as these brought on a scuffle; which passed off, however, without attracting much notice. About eight o’clock, for some unknown cause, an alarm bell rang loudly and hurriedly.

At the sound, many people ran out of their houses, supposing it to be an alarm of fire. But there were no flames to be seen; nor was there any smell of smoke in the clear, frosty air; so that most of the townsmen went back to their own fire-sides, and sat talking with their wives and children about the calamities of the times. Others, who were younger and less prudent, remained in the streets; for there seems to have been a presentiment that some strange event was on the eve of taking place.

Later in the evening, not far from nine o’clock, several young men passed by the town-house, and walked down King Street. The sentinel was still on his post, in front of the custom-house, pacing to and fro, while, as he turned, a gleam of light, from some neighboring window, glittered on the barrel of his musket. At no great distance were the barracks and the guard-house, where his comrades were probably telling stories of battle and bloodshed.

Down towards the custom-house, as I told you, came a party of wild young men. When they drew near the sentinel, he halted on his post, and took his musket from his shoulder, ready to present the bayonet at their breasts.

“Who goes there?” he cried, in the gruff, peremptory tones of a soldier’s challenge.

The young men, being Boston boys, felt as if they had a right to walk their own streets, without being accountable to a British red-coat, even though he challenged them in King George’s name. They made some rude answer to the sentinel. There was a dispute, or, perhaps a scuffle. Other soldiers heard the noise, and ran hastily from the barracks, to assist their comrade. At the same time, many of the town’s-people rushed into King Street, by various avenues, and gathered in a crowd round about the custom-house. It seemed wonderful how such a multitude had started up, all of a sudden.

The wrongs and insults, which the people had been suffering for many months, now kindled them into a rage. They threw snow-balls and lumps of ice at the soldiers. As the tumult grew louder, it reached the ears of Captain Preston, the officer of the day. He immediately ordered eight soldiers of the main guard to take their muskets and follow him. They marched across the street, forcing their way roughly through the crowd, and pricking the town’s-people with their bayonets.

A gentleman, (it was Henry Knox, afterwards general of the American artillery,) caught Captain Preston’s arm.

“For Heaven’s sake, sir,” exclaimed he, take heed what you do, or here will be bloodshed.”

“Stand aside!” answered Captain Preston, haughtily. “Do not interfere, sir. Leave me to manage the affair.”

Arriving at the sentinel’s post, Captain Preston drew up his men in a semi-circle, with their faces to the crowd and their rear to the custom-house. “When the people saw the officer, and beheld the threatening attitude with which the soldiers fronted them, their rage became almost uncontrollable.

“Fire, you lobster-backs!” bellowed some.

“You dare not fire, you cowardly red-coats,” cried others.

“Rush upon them!” shouted many voices. “Drive the rascals to their barracks! Down with them! Down with them! Let them fire, if they dare!”

Amid the uproar, the soldiers stood glaring at the people, with the fierceness of men whose trade was to shed blood.

Oh, what a crisis had now arrived! Up to this very moment, the angry feelings between England and America might have been pacified. England had but to stretch out the hand of reconciliation, and acknowledge that she had hitherto mistaken her rights but would do so no more. Then, the ancient bonds of brotherhood would again have been knit together, as firmly as in old times. The habit of loyalty, which had grown as strong as instinct, was not utterly overcome. The perils shared, the victories won, in the Old French War, when the soldiers of the colonies fought side by side with their comrades from beyond the sea, were unforgotten yet. England was still that beloved country which the colonists called their home. King George, though he had frowned upon America, was still reverenced as a father.

But, should the king’s soldiers shed one drop of American blood, then it was a quarrel to the death. Never—never would America rest satisfied, until she had torn down the royal authority, and trampled it in the dust.

“Fire, if you dare, villains!” hoarsely shouted the people, while the muzzles of the muskets were turned upon them; “you dare not fire!”

They appeared ready to rush upon the levelled bayonets. Captain Preston waved his sword, and uttered a command which could not be distinctly heard, amid the uproar of shouts that issued from a hundred throats. But his soldiers deemed that he had spoken the fatal mandate—”fire!” The flash of their muskets lighted up the street, and the report rang loudly between the edifices. It was said, too, that the figure of a man with a cloth hanging down over his face, was seen to step into the balcony of the custom-house, and discharge a musket at the crowd.

A gush of smoke had overspread the scene. It rose heavily, as if it were loath to reveal the dreadful spectacle beneath it. Eleven of the sons of New England lay stretched upon the street. Some, sorely wounded, were struggling to rise again. Others stirred not, nor groaned, for they were past all pain. Blood was streaming upon the snow; and that purple stain, in the midst of King Street, though it melted away in the next day’s sun, was never forgotten nor forgiven by the people.

Grandfather was interrupted by the violent sobs of little Alice. In his earnestness, he had neglected to soften down the narrative, so that it might not terrify the heart of this unworldly infant. Since Grandfather began the history of our chair, little Alice had listened to many tales of war. But, probably, the idea had never really impressed itself upon her mind, that men have shed the blood of their fellow-creatures. And now that this idea was forcibly presented to her, it affected the sweet child with bewilderment and horror.

“I ought to have remembered our dear little Alice,” said Grandfather reproachfully to himself. “Oh, what a pity! Her heavenly nature has now received its first impression of earthly sin and violence. Well, Clara, take her to bed, and comfort her. Heaven grant that she may dream away the recollection of the Boston Massacre!”

“Grandfather,” said Charley, when Clara and little Alice had retired, “did not the people rush upon the soldiers, and take revenge?”

“The town drums beat to arms,” replied Grandfather, “the alarm bells rang, and an immense multitude rushed into King Street. Many of them had weapons in their hands. The British prepared to defend themselves. A whole regiment was drawn up in the street, expecting an attack; for the townsmen appeared ready to throw themselves upon the bayonets.”

“And how did it end?” asked Charley.

“Governor Hutchinson hurried to the spot,” said Grandfather, “and besought the people to have patience, promising that strict justice should be done. A day or two afterward, the British troops were withdrawn from town, and stationed at Castle William. Captain Preston and the eight soldiers were tried for murder. But none of them were found guilty. The judges told the jury that the insults and violence which had been offered to the soldiers, justified them in firing at the mob.”

“The Revolution,” observed Laurence, who had said but little during the evening, “was not such a calm, majestic movement as I supposed. I do not love to hear of mobs and broils in the street. These things were unworthy of the people, when they had such a great object to accomplish.”

“Nevertheless, the world has seen no grander movement than that of our Revolution, from first to last,” said Grandfather. “The people, to a man, were full of a great and noble sentiment. True, there may be much fault to find with their mode of expressing this sentiment; but they knew no better—the necessity was upon them to act out their feelings, in the best manner they could. We must forgive what was wrong in their actions, and look into their hearts and minds for the honorable motives that impelled them.”

“And I suppose,” said Laurence, “there were men who knew how to act worthily of what they felt.”

“There were many such,” replied Grandfather, “and we will speak of some of them, hereafter.”

Grandfather here made a pause. That night, Charley had a dream about the Boston Massacre, and thought that he himself was in the crowd, and struck down Captain Preston with a great club. Laurence dreamed that he was sitting in our great chair, at the window of the British Coffee House, and beheld the whole scene which Grandfather had described. It seemed to him, in his dream, that if the town’s-people and the soldiers would but have heard him speak a single word, all the slaughter might have been averted. But there was such an uproar that it drowned his voice.

The next morning, the two boys went together to State Street, and stood on the very spot where the first blood of the Revolution had been shed. The Old State House was still there, presenting almost the same aspect that it had worn on that memorable evening, one-and-seventy years ago. It is the sole remaining witness of the Boston Massacre.

 

‘Stunning’ Drug Lab Scandal Could Overturn 23,000 Convictions

 

(THIS CASE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

MAR 29 2017, 9:29 AM ET

Stunning’ Drug Lab Scandal Could Overturn 23,000 Convictions

In the annals of wrongful convictions, there is nothing that comes close in size to the epic drug-lab scandal that is entering its dramatic final act in Massachusetts.

About 23,000 people convicted of low-level drug crimes are expected to have their cases wiped away next month en masse, the result of a five-year court fight over the work of a rogue chemist.

“It’s absolutely stunning. I have never seen anything like it,” said Suzanne Bell, a professor at West Virginia University who serves on the National Commission of Forensic Science. “It’s unbelievable to me that it could have even happened. And then when you look at the scope of the number of cases that may be dismissed or vacated, there are no words for it.”

Annie Dookhan
Annie Dookhan was arrested outside her home in Franklin, Massachusetts, in 2012. Bizuayehu Tesfaye / AP, file

The dismissals will come in the form of filings from seven district attorneys ordered by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to decide who among 24,000 people with questionable convictions they can realistically try to re-prosecute.

Their answer, due by April 18, is expected to be “in the hundreds,” a spokeswoman for Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said this week. An exact number was not available because the prosecutors are still working through the list, the spokeswoman, Meghan Kelly, said in an email.

The development was first reported by the Boston Globe.

Related: How One Texas County Drove a Record Rise in Exonerations

The prosecutors didn’t want the scandal to end like this. They fought for a way to preserve the convictions, and leave it to the defendants to challenge them.

Civil rights groups and defense lawyers argued for all the cases to be dropped, saying that was the only way to ensure justice.

The state’s high court chose its own solution, ruling in January that district attorneys should focus on a small subset of cases it wanted to retry, and drop the rest.

Court Handles Cases Tainted By Drug Lab Scandal
A special drug lab session handled motions by drug defendants whose cases were handled by chemist Annie Dookhan. Pat Greenhouse / Boston Globe via Getty Images

It has taken five years to get to this point, longer than it took to discover, prosecute and punish the chemist, Annie Dookhan. She worked at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Boston for nearly a decade before her misconduct was exposed in 2012. She admitted to tampering with evidence, forging test results and lying about it. She served three years in prison and was released last year.

By then, most of the people Dookhan helped convict — most of whom pleaded guilty to low-level drug offenses based on her now-discredited work — had finished their sentences.

Is not entirely clear why Dookhan, a Trinidadian immigrant mother, felt compelled to change test results on such a massive scale. She was by far the lab’s most prolific analyst, a record that impressed her supervisors but also worried her co-workers — a red flag that went overlooked for years. She seemed driven to stand out, even if it mean lying, former colleagues have said. She also maintained friendly relationships with prosecutors, even though her role was to remain objective.

Related: Rogue East Cleveland Cops Framed Dozens of Drug Suspects

Many likely did commit the offenses, but many did not, defense lawyers say. All of them are now burdened with dubious convictions that have made it difficult to find jobs and housing or to obtain student loans, the lawyers say. Some defendants were convicted of more serious crimes, and the drug convictions were used to stiffen their sentences. Non-citizens have been threatened with deportation.

Civil rights advocates say the case has exposed the folly of aggressive enforcement of low-rung drug offenders, many of whom are addicts in need of treatment.

“It’s a soup-to-nuts indictment of the war on drugs,” said Matthew Segal, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, whose lawsuit led to the supreme court’s ruling. “These scandals happen around the country because our war on drugs is based on cutting corners.”

The William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute, which houses the Massachusetts state drug lab. Steven Senne / AP, file

The reliance on forensic science in the criminal justice system has improved policing and prosecutions, but the misuse of science has also fueled wrongful convictions, researchers say. Drug labs play a distinct role in that machinery.

Lab scandals have undermined thousands of convictions in eight states in the past decade, according to data maintained by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Critics say forensic chemists feel a duty to help prosecutors rather than remain neutral. And they point out that many labs — including Hinton when Dookhan worked there — lack professional accreditation or proper protocols to prevent and detect misconduct. Some of her superiors have lost their jobs for failing to notice or report her misdeeds.

“This drug lab scandal is another example of why the criminal justice system needs to reform its approach to forensic science,” said Dan Gelb, a Boston attorney who helped write an amicus brief on the Dookhan case for the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. “Labs shouldn’t be an extension of law enforcement.”

Annie Dookhan
Former Massachusetts state chemist Annie Dookhan before entering a guilty plea in November 2013. David L. Ryan / Boston Globe via AP, file

Because of the system’s reliance on plea bargains to keep cases moving, defendants often don’t have a chance to challenge results from drug labs, Bell added.

That’s become a big point of discussion at the National Commission of Forensic Science, she said. But the commission, which was formed by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2013, is facing an uncertain future, with no clear message from the Trump administration if its work will continued to be funded, Bell said.

The Dookhan case awakened Massachusetts to the crisis, Bell said.

But the end of the Dookhan saga will not bring the end to Massachusetts’ problems.

That’s because it is dealing with a second scandal, at a second lab, this one the result of a chemist who admitted to doing drugs — including an array of substances submitted as evidence — while on the job.

Thousands of convictions in that case are now in doubt.

Uber Used Secret Greyball Tool To Deceive Authorities Worldwide

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

Uber’s Greyball tool was developed to weed out riders thought to be using its service improperly.Credit Mark Ralston/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber has for years engaged in a worldwide program to deceive the authorities in markets where its low-cost ride-hailing service was being resisted by law enforcement or, in some instances, had been outright banned.

The program, involving a tool called Greyball, uses data collected from the Uber app and other techniques to identify and circumvent officials. Uber used these methods to evade the authorities in cities such as Boston, Paris and Las Vegas, and in countries like Australia, China, Italy and South Korea.

Greyball was part of a broader program called VTOS, short for “violation of terms of service,” which Uber created to root out people it thought were using or targeting its service improperly. The VTOS program, including the Greyball tool, began as early as 2014 and remains in use, predominantly outside the United States. Greyball was approved by Uber’s legal team.

Greyball and the broader VTOS program were described to The New York Times by four current and former Uber employees, who also provided documents. The four spoke on the condition of anonymity because the tools and their use are confidential and because of fear of retaliation by the company.

Continue reading the main story

Uber’s use of Greyball was recorded on video in late 2014, when Erich England, a code enforcement inspector in Portland, Ore., tried to hail an Uber car downtown as part of a sting operation against the company.

At the time, Uber had just started its ride-hailing service in Portland without seeking permission from the city, which later declared the service illegal. To build a case against the company, officers like Mr. England posed as riders, opening the Uber app to hail a car and watching as the miniature vehicles on the screen made their way toward the potential fares.

But unknown to Mr. England and other authorities, some of the digital cars they saw in their Uber apps were never there at all. The Uber drivers they were able to hail also quickly canceled. That was because Uber had tagged Mr. England and his colleagues — essentially Greyballing them as city officials — based on data collected from its app and through other techniques. Uber then served up a fake version of its app that was populated with ghost cars, to evade capture.

Portland vs. Uber: City code officers try to ticket drivers 

At a time when Uber is already under scrutiny for its boundary-pushing workplace culture, the Greyball tool underscores the lengths to which the company will go to win in its business. Uber has long flouted laws and regulations to gain an edge against entrenched transportation providers, a modus operandi that has helped propel the company into more than 70 countries and to a valuation close to $70 billion.

Yet using its app to identify and sidestep authorities in places where regulators said the company was breaking the law goes further in skirting ethical lines — and potentially legal ones, too. Inside Uber, some of those who knew about the VTOS program and how the Greyball tool was being used were troubled by it.

In a statement, Uber said, “This program denies ride requests to users who are violating our 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.”

Dylan Rivera, a spokesman for the Portland Bureau of Transportation, said in a statement: “We’re very concerned to hear that this practice continued at least into 2015 and affected other cities.

“We take any effort to undermine our efforts to protect the public very seriously,” Mr. Rivera said.

Uber, which lets people hail rides from a smartphone app, operates multiple kinds of services, including a luxury Black Car one in which drivers are commercially licensed. But one Uber service that many regulators have had problems with is the company’s lower-cost service, known as UberX in the United States.

UberX essentially lets people who have passed a cursory background check and vehicle inspection to become an Uber driver quickly. In the past, many cities banned the service and declared it illegal.

That’s because the ability to summon a noncommercial driver — which is how UberX drivers who use their private vehicles are typically categorized — often had no regulations around it. When Uber barreled into new markets, it capitalized on the lack of rules to quickly enlist UberX drivers, who were not commercially licensed, and put them to work before local regulators could prohibit them from doing so.

After authorities caught up, the company and officials generally clashed — Uber has run into legal hurdles with UberX in cities including Austin, Tex., Philadelphia and Tampa, Fla., as well as internationally. Eventually, the two sides came to an agreement, and regulators developed a legal framework for the low-cost service.

That approach has been costly. Law enforcement officials in some cities have impounded or ticketed UberX drivers, with Uber generally picking up those costs on behalf of the drivers. Uber has estimated thousands of dollars in lost revenue for every vehicle impounded and ticket dispensed.

This is where the VTOS program and the use of the Greyball tool came in. When Uber moved into a new city, it appointed a general manager to lead the charge. The manager would try to spot enforcement officers using a set of technologies and techniques.

One method involved drawing a digital perimeter, or “geofence,” around authorities’ offices on a digital map of the city that Uber monitored. The company watched which people frequently opened and closed the app — a process internally called “eyeballing” — around that location, which signified that the user might be associated with city agencies.

Other techniques included looking at the user’s credit card information and whether that card was tied directly to an institution like a police credit union.

Enforcement officials involved in large-scale sting operations to catch Uber drivers also sometimes bought dozens of cellphones to create different accounts. To circumvent that tactic, Uber employees went to that city’s local electronics stores to look up device numbers of the cheapest mobile phones on sale, which were often the ones bought by city officials, whose budgets were not sizable.

In all, there were at least a dozen or so signifiers in the VTOS program that Uber employees could use to assess whether users were new riders or very likely city officials.

If those clues were not enough to confirm a user’s identity, Uber employees would search social media profiles and other available information online. Once a user was identified as law enforcement, Uber Greyballed him or her, tagging the user with a small piece of code that read Greyball followed by a string of numbers.

When a tagged officer called a car, Uber could scramble a set of ghost cars inside a fake version of the app for that person, or show no cars available at all. If a driver accidentally picked up an officer, Uber occasionally called the driver with instructions to end the ride.

Uber employees said the practices and tools were partly born out of safety measures for drivers in certain countries. In France, Kenya and India, for instance, taxi companies and workers targeted and attacked new Uber drivers.

“They’re beating the cars with metal bats,” Courtney Love, the singer and celebrity, tweeted from an Uber car at a time of clashes between the company and taxi drivers in Paris in 2015. Ms. Love said protesters had ambushed her Uber ride and held her driver hostage. “This is France? I’m safer in Baghdad.”

Uber has said it was also at risk from tactics used by taxi and limousine companies in certain markets. In Tampa, for instance, Uber referred to collusion between the local transportation authority and taxi companies in fighting ride-hailing services.

In those environments, Greyballing started as a way to scramble the locations of UberX drivers to prevent competitors from finding them. Uber said it remained the primary use of the tool today.

But as Uber moved into new markets, its engineers saw that those same techniques and tools could also be used for evading law enforcement. Once the Greyball tool was put in place and tested, Uber engineers created a playbook with a list of tactics and distributed it to general managers in more than a dozen countries across five continents.

At least 50 to 60 people inside Uber knew about Greyball, and some had qualms about whether it was ethical or legal. Greyball was approved by Uber’s legal team, headed by Salle Yoo, the general counsel. Ryan Graves, an early hire who became senior vice president of global operations and a board member, was also aware of the program.

Ms. Yoo and Mr. Graves did not respond to a request for comment.

Outside scholars said they were unsure of the program’s legality. Greyball could be considered a violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or possibly intentional obstruction of justice, depending on local laws and jurisdictions, said Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University, who also writes for The New York Times.

“With any type of systematic thwarting of the law, you’re flirting with disaster,” Mr. Henning said. “We all take our foot off the gas when we see the police car at the intersection up ahead, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But this goes far beyond avoiding a speed trap.”

To date, Greyballing has been effective. In Portland that day in late 2014, Mr. England, the enforcement officer, did not catch an Uber, according to local reports.

And two weeks after Uber began dispatching drivers in that city, the company reached an agreement with local officials for UberX to be legally available there.

2 Boston Police Officers In Critical Condition After Answering Domestic Dispute Call

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN NEWS NETWORK)

Suspect killed, 2 police officers critically injured in Boston shooting

  • Two police officers are wounded while responding to “domestic incident” call
  • Police killed suspect Kirk Figueroa, who was wearing ballistic vest

(CNN)Two Boston police officers were in critical condition after being shot by a city constable while answering a domestic call, police said Thursday afternoon.

The suspect in the shootings — who was wearing body armor — was killed during an exchange of gunfire with officers, said police Commissioner William Evans.
The officers were identified as Richard Cintolo, a 27-year veteran of the department, and Officer Matt Morris, a 12-year veteran. They underwent surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and were listed in critical condition.
The slain man was identified as Kirk Figueroa, 33, of East Boston.
Evans confirmed media reports that Figueroa was a city constable, giving him the authority to serve warrants, subpoenas and other civil papers. CNN affiliate WBZ reported that Figueroa was sworn into office in July.
Figueroa didn’t have the right to possess the firearms that were found at his residence, Evans said.
Police received a call regarding a “domestic incident” between two male roommates in East Boston around 11 p.m., Evans said.
One man came out of the building and said his roommate threatened him with a large knife, Evans said.
Two officers went inside the residence and were met by a man displaying what appeared to be a “tactical” shotgun, Evans said. Earlier he said the man carried an assault rifle.
Officers outside the residence heard gunshots, entered the building and exchanged gunfire with the man, Evans said. Other officers dragged the two wounded officers outside and began providing first aid, he said.
“We’re not proud when we have to use deadly force. But obviously we had two officers gravely injured here, and it left no choice.”
Nine additional officers were treated at Tufts Medical Center for minor injuries and stress, the police commissioner said.
Evans praised the officers for pulling their colleagues out of the line of fire, applying first aid and dealing with a life-threatening situation.
“Domestic calls are probably the most volatile. You never really know what you’re walking into,” he said.
The Suffolk County district attorney’s office will investigate, as it does in all police-involved shootings.
“It’s going to take time,” District Attorney Daniel Conley said. “The two individuals who probably know most about what happened tonight are in Mass Gen (the hospital) fighting for their lives.”
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strange behaviors

Cool doings from the natural and human worlds

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