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Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Uber drivers in Egypt turn to VPNs to use the app

Uber drivers turn to VPNs to use the app: In another sign that Uber may be blocked here in Egypt, the domestic press is reporting that the company’s local agents have told drivers to use VPNs to access the app. VPNs are programs that, effectively, allow apps and web browsers to sidestep a local block by appearing as if they are accessing the internet from another country. This came as other reports emerged that the technical difficulties Uber has been struggling with have made their way into the agents’ internal driver-tracking systems. The agents use the systems to determine the location and outstanding balance of the drivers they’ve recruited.

What’s going on? Earlier this week, we started poking into possible explanations for why Uber has been largely unusable in the past week. A source with whom we spoke drew a line between the outage and what the source said is ongoing friction over unspecified “changes” to the still-not-released executive regulations to the ride sharing law.

A bit of light at the end of the tunnel? At one point yesterday, a number of users and drivers said the app was starting work as normal, according to Masrawy — which also picked up Facebook posts of drivers saying they no longer needed to use VPNs.

Still no word from Uber: Both Masrawy and a local contractor speaking to the domestic press said the company has yet to offer an explanation as to why the app was not working. We have reached out to representatives of Uber on multiple occasions, but have yet to receive comment or a statement on the record. We found the app still unusable heading into dispatch time this morning.

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