Uber Reportedly Had System to Stymie Police Raids

The ride-hailing company may have had a system to keep its information under wraps from the law.

Hemant Mishra/Mint

Notorious for its disregard of labor laws and other regulations, Uber has for years found itself in the sights of law enforcement agencies around the world. Plus, the ride-hailing startup reportedly had a system in place to keep its computerized information under wraps.

Should law enforcement show up to raid any of its offices abroad, 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 report detailed a May 2015 raid by investigators for the Quebec tax authority which had HQ alerted and able to remotely log off all the computers in Uber's Montreal office. The tax investigators wound up leaving without the company documents they had a warrant to obtain, reported Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the event.

The remote system, dubbed Ripley, came into routine play to hinder police raids in foreign countries from spring 2015 until late 2016, Bloomberg reported.

The routine had the HQ team remotely changing passwords and taking other steps to prevent outsiders from accessing data on Uber-owned smartphones, laptops, and desktops.

While many companies shut down computers during police raids to give managers time to read police warrants, Uber's system differed in that it was used at least a dozen times, according to Bloomberg's sources.

“Like every company with offices around the world, we have security procedures in place to protect corporate and customer data,” Uber said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg. “When it comes to government investigations, it’s our policy to cooperate with all valid searches and requests for data.”