Friday, 16 November, 2018

Uber has used tool to evade police during foreign raids

Uber Confirms It Used'Ripley Tool to Shield Its Data From Police Outside the US Bloomberg: Uber used remote tool to shut off devices during police raids
Laurie Berry | 12 January, 2018, 16:12

A report by Bloomberg today claimed the dial-a-ride broker built a tool called Ripley to remotely lock and remove potentially incriminating data from machines in branch offices that were being raided by cops.

Bloomberg reported Thursday that Uber used the tool, known as Ripley, from spring 2015 until late 2016 in several cities.

The use of this tool raises questions for Uber simply because there is now a growing list of eyebrow-raising technological tactics the company has employed during its meteoric rise from Bay Area phenomenon to global powerhouse over the past nine years. Those rides would be canceled or never arrive. And Waymo, Google's self-driving vehicle company, has sued Uber claiming that its self-driving auto 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.

The ride-hailing company had a scandal-ridden 2017 that included lawsuits, government probes, the revelation of a significant sexual-harassment problem and the disclosure of a coverup of a hack that stole personal information of 57 million passengers and 600,000 drivers.

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We're told that, starting in 2015 and going on to 2016, Uber engineers at its San Francisco HQ deployed Ripley in branch offices in Brussels, Hong Kong, and Paris when they were subject to search warrants from local authorities. The company's hard-charging chief executive, Travis Kalanick, resigned in June and was replaced in August by the former CEO of Expedia, Dara Khosrowshahi. But as he works to rebrand Uber in the eyes of the public and set the company back on track, he continues to uncover new messes that Kalanick left behind, including regulatory threats to Uber's business overseas, and a major data breach made worse by former employees' efforts to hide it.

The ability to lock down devices wasn't limited to computers, according to the report.

Other companies have shut off computers during police raids and later granted access after reviewing warrants, according to Bloomberg.

Uber said in a statement that, like all companies, it has various security procedures in place to protect its data.

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