The bitter feud between Lyft and Uber has escalated to accusations of digital espionage.According to a new report in Reuters, Lyft CTO Chris Lambert has been tied to an IP address that accessed a leaked Uber security key, as part of a larger investigation into a breach of the company’s driver database made public in February. It’s still unclear whether Lambert had any role in the breach, and court documents show the breach itself launching from a separate IP, but Uber’s lawyers have aggressively pursued the connection in a number of motions before the court. Reached by The Verge, Uber declined to comment.
The security key in question was available on Uber’s public Github for nearly a year before the breach was made public, but the question of who accessed the page and when has become increasingly central to Uber’s case. An Uber review of access logs put a specific Comcast IP address at the center of the investigation — the same address now linked to Lambert. But it hasn’t been established in court that the address did anything illegal, and Uber’s internal review is the only evidence that suggests Lambert did more than access a public Github page.
It’s particularly interesting in light of the heated history between the two rival car-sharing networks. Last year, a Verge investigation found a concerted effort by Uber employees to target and convert Lyft drivers to the service, often by ordering fake rides. On a smaller scale, the services compete over smaller markets like Las Vegas, where the two services recently launched on the same day. That bloodthirsty competition gives credibility to the theory that Lyft would break into Uber’s database for a competitive advantage, but also makes it likely that Uber would use the breach case as a way to discredit its upstart competitor.