Uber used remote tool to shut off devices during police raids

Uber used remote tool to shut off devices during police raids

"Like every company with offices around the world, we have security procedures in place to protect corporate and customer data", an Uber spokeswoman said.

Bloomberg specifically cites a May 2015 incident in Montreal where a team of investigators for the Quebec tax authority raided Uber's local office. The investigators left without any evidence. The company also said its policy is to cooperate with all valid searches and requests for data. The company used it at least two dozen times in situations with authorities in foreign countries, according to Bloomberg. According to Bloomberg, the San Francisco-based company has a secret tool to keep cops from accessing data on their computers. But as he works to rebrand Uber in the eyes of the public and set the company back on track, he continues to uncover new messes that Kalanick left behind, including regulatory threats to Uber's business overseas, and a major data breach made worse by former employees' efforts to hide it. But in the case with Ripley, the company said it was in the right. Uber's on-site managers followed protocol and alerted company headquarters about what was happening.

Ryan Kalember from cybersecurity firm Proofpoint added that although it is standard practice to be able to remotely lock all systems or wipe data from devices, it's less typical to develop a specific tool and to give it such an evocative name. Such actions include asking for IDs and a search warrant, offering tea or coffee and contacting Uber's legal department. Don'ts say not to volunteer any information, nor "delete, destroy, hide any document or data". The authorities believed Uber had violated tax laws and obtained a warrant to collect evidence.

Sigourney Weaver as Warrant Officer Ripley in the hit film Alien 3 - the inspiration for Uber's latest software tool.

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Uber's other known anti-regulator projects include Greyball, which was created to identify regulators and law enforcement, in order serve up a fake version of the app where drivers would constantly cancel rides.

Uber doesn't have a very good relationship with regulators, and by that I mean it seems to do everything it can to avoid letting them do any investigation into the company.

If you thought that Ripley was the only trick Uber had up its sleeve, wait till you hear about their other program called Greyball. It's also facing at least four other inquiries by the United States government. Apparently paging that number goes straight to specially trained staff who can remotely lock computer systems in Uber's offices across the world. It's basically the same software someone would use if they lost their smartphone.

But some employees felt that the system slowed down legitimate investigations, and one academic said that the use of the system could potentially amount to obstruction of justice.

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