Uber Had A Secret Program To Thwart Police Raids To Their Offices

Uber like many companies that operate internationally uses software to remotely disable its employees laptops and smartphones.                  Uber

Uber used Ripley during a raid in Montreal in May 2015, according to Bloomberg.

From spring 2015 until late 2016, Uber routinely used Ripley to thwart police raids in foreign countries, say three people with knowledge of the system. But the company maintains with regards to Ripley, it was in the right.

The system has reportedly been called Ripley, after the character played by Sigourney Weaver in the Alien film franchise who declares the best way to defeat the aliens: "Nuke the entire site from orbit". "That's the only unusual thing here to me", he said, pointing out that most companies will use very common end-point management software.

Should law enforcement show up to raid any of its offices overseas, managers had been instructed to page a number to warn staff at Uber's San Francisco headquarters, according to a report Thursday by Bloomberg News. The reported cited an incident back in 2015 where Quebec's tax authority came to Uber's office in Montreal, believing the company to have violated tax laws.

The Justice Department also is investigating whether Uber illegally used software to track drivers of its rival Lyft. Uber maintained that it never deleted the files and cooperated with another search warrant in which the files were covered once again. Following another raid in Paris the same week, Uber's then general counsel Salle Yoo instructed employees to install encryption software that logged off computers after 60 seconds of inactivity.

Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi addressing his new team at Uber's San Francisco headquarters in late August.

We understand why Uber has to be extra careful with their data, considering that they access to the private data of millions of people across the world. Apparently paging that number goes straight to specially trained staff who can remotely lock computer systems in Uber's offices across the world.

It also mentions another system, called uLocker, which it says was contemplated for times when Uber wanted to be "less transparent".

Despite the report that it had a special hotline set up specifically to prevent law enforcement from gaining access to data it had a warrant for, Uber insists that it has no issue with participating in government investigations. "When it comes to government investigations, it's our policy to cooperate with all valid searches and requests for data".

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