It then adds, "Like managers at Uber's hundreds of offices overseas, they'd been trained to page a number that alerted specially trained staff at company headquarters in San Francisco".
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. Now we've got Ripley, which came to light in a report from Bloomberg.
Former Uber employees have confirmed the company routinely used a software system called Ripley to lock computers from tax investigators between 2015 and 2016.
Uber is said to have even considered a system called uLocker, which would present law enforcement officials with a dummy login screen. That way the police are unable to access the systems, and cannot leave with any evidence. Uber is still banned in many cities, as was the case during the period between 2015 and 2016 when it used its Ripley program.
Uber said the system - named Ripley, after the flame throwing hero in the Alien movies - was there to protect customer data.
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But instead of using a flamethrower, Ripley reportedly allowed Uber's security team to remotely change passwords and lock down information on company-owned devices. "It's the only way to be sure". Facing accusations of operating without proper licenses, police were able to access the company's payments system, financial documents and driver and employee information. Salle Yoo, who was Uber's general counsel at the time (and has since left the company), asked her staff to prepare measures to counter these kinds of raids.
Other companies have shut off computers during police raids and later granted access after reviewing warrants, according to Bloomberg. The program was reportedly used at least two dozen times in cities such as Quebec, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris during police raids of Uber offices. The three people with knowledge of the tool believe it was justified, however, since they claim authorities outside the United States didn't always come with warrants and often relied on rather broad orders.
"Like every company with offices around the world, we have security procedures in place to protect corporate and customer data", Ensign said in a statement. "When it comes to government investigations, it's our policy to cooperate with all valid searches and requests for data".
Sigourney Weaver as Warrant Officer Ripley in the hit film Alien 3 - the inspiration for Uber's latest software tool.