Bloomberg reports Uber has used the system at least two dozen times to lock down equipment in foreign offices to shield files from police raids. But the company maintains with regards to Ripley, it was in the right.
It says the system was used in May 2015 when 10 investigators for the Quebec tax authority burst into Uber Technologies Inc's office in Montreal.
The program's name was a nod to the character played by Sigourney Weaver, who is prepared to annihilate herself and her environment if it means ensuring that her space alien foes die in the process.
Company spokeswoman Melanie Ensign confirmed that the tool existed, but said it was no longer in use. Their rides would be cancelled or would never arrive.
Uber's use of Greyball was recorded in late 2014, when an enforcement inspector in Portland, Oregon, tried to hail an Uber vehicle 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.
The company's hard-charging co-founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick, resigned in June after former engineer Susan Fowler's early-2017 blog post revealed a corporate culture that was toxic to women.
The report claims that Uber had deployed the use of a program called "Ripley", which basically locked all computers in the office to prevent the police from accessing them.
Uber is serious about "security" in it offices.when it comes to evidence.and hiding that from the police.that show up with search warrants.
Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi addressing his new team at Uber's San Francisco headquarters in late August.
If you thought that Ripley was the only trick Uber had up its sleeve, wait till you hear about their other program called Greyball.
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.
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 company also said its policy is to cooperate with all valid searches and requests for data. Apparently paging that number goes straight to specially trained staff who can remotely lock computer systems in Uber's offices across the world.
Less than a week after Greyball was exposed, Uber said it stopped using the software.