Uber Reportedly Had System to Stymie Police Raids

Ride-sharing company Uber has been accused of using a computer system to intentionally dodge criminal investigations in foreign countries, according to Bloomberg. They were armed with the appropriate warrants, but managers on site had already paged Uber's head office in San Francisco.

Dubbed Ripley for Sigourney Weaver's character in the Alien movies, the program was regularly activated by the team at Uber's headquarters between early 2015 and late 2016. "That's the only odd thing here to me", he said, pointing out that most companies will use very common end-point management software. Uber quickly discontinued the practice after its existence was by The New York Times.

Past year the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced it is probing to see if Uber used software to illegally interfere with its competitors, the Wall Street Journal reported. And Waymo, Google's self-driving auto company, has sued Uber claiming that its self-driving vehicle technology is based on trade secrets effectively stolen during Uber's purchase of Otto, a self-driving truck company started by former Google employee Anthony Levandowski. 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 maintained that it never deleted the files and cooperated with another search warrant in which the files were covered once again.

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


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.

Ensign said Ripley, which was initiated before the Uber hired a team of security experts, was retired because it did not work properly.

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. The company also said its policy is to cooperate with all valid searches and requests for data. She said Uber's guidance to employees bars use of the tool where it isn't legal.


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