Ripley was developed by Uber's security and legal teams; Joe Sullivan and Salle Yoo, who respectively ran the company's security and legal departments, have since left Uber.
SAN FRANCISCO - Uber confirmed Thursday that it once used technology to shield data from law enforcement during unexpected raids of its offices outside the US, another example of the company using questionable tactics in its pursuit of market share. The tool was named in honor of Sigourney Weaver's character in the "Alien" movies.
Company spokeswoman Melanie Ensign confirmed that the tool existed, but said it was no longer in use.
Should law enforcement show up to raid any of its offices overseas, 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 details an example back in 2015, when authorities raided Uber's Montreal office under the belief that the company had violated tax laws. Those rides would be canceled or never arrive.
Previous 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.
Uber's use of Greyball was recorded in late 2014, when an enforcement inspector in Portland, Oregon, tried to hail an Uber auto downtown in a sting operation against the company.b Uber quickly identified them as city officials, based on data collected from the app and in other ways.
Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi addressing his new team at Uber's San Francisco headquarters in late August.
A spokesperson for Uber said: "Like every company with offices around the world, we have security procedures in place to protect corporate and customer data". Apparently paging that number goes straight to specially trained staff who can remotely lock computer systems in Uber's offices across the world.
'When it comes to government investigations, it's our policy to cooperate with all valid searches and requests for data.
Bloomberg reports that Ripley was originally created in response to a March 2015 police raid on Uber's Brussels office.
Uber reportedly trained its employees working in foreign offices to utilize Ripley any time police came knocking at their door.