The US Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into a data breach that occurred in May last year at ride-hailing service Uber, according to Reuters.
Authorities are examining whether any employees at competitor Lyft were involved in the data breach, the report said, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Earlier this year, Uber revealed that as many as 50,000 of its drivers’ names and their license numbers had been improperly downloaded.
An investigation by the company determined that an Internet address potentially associated with the breach can be traced to Lyft’s technology chief, Chris Lambert.
No one has been accused yet of any wrongdoing.
An attorney for Lambert was quoted as saying that his client “had nothing to do” with the breach.
Lyft, meanwhile, said in a statement Friday that it has not been contacted by any federal or state government agency regarding an investigation.
Lyft and Uber, which are both based in San Francisco, compete fiercely for drivers and customers.
Uber learnt last year that someone downloaded its driver database, which should have been accessible only with a digital security key.
The company filed a civil lawsuit in San Francisco federal court in February in an attempt to unmask the perpetrator.
Its court papers claim that an unidentified person using a Comcast IP address had access to the security key.
On its own, Uber investigated that address and determined that it had been assigned to Lambert, Reuters reported in October.
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