Report: Uber used remote computer locks to foil investigations

Report: Uber used remote computer locks to foil investigations

by Justin King

Workers in San Francisco allegedly froze equipment in foreign offices during police raids, preventing investigators from accessing potentially incriminating files.

Uber has reportedly used a controversial tool to shield its data from investigators abroad.

The company's San Francisco headquarters allegedly employed a remote management system to quickly lock down computers located in foreign offices, according to a Bloomberg report.

The ride-hailing company has a reputation for ignoring local laws related to taxi licensing and labor practices.

The remote lock system is said to have been used more than two dozen times. Staff at foreign offices are allegedly trained to alert San Francisco headquarters in the event of a police raid. In one instance, authorities attempting to serve a search warrant in Montreal walked away empty handed after all the computers had been logged out.

The system's capabilities reportedly extended to smartphones and laptop or desktop computers, all of which could be secured by remotely changing passwords.

The system was allegedly called Ripley, taking inspiration from the Aliens hero's line "Nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

The company has been accused of obstructing justice, but it is unclear if the practice was explicitly illegal in the jurisdictions affected by such raids.