Staff then paged a number that alerted specially trained staff at company headquarters in San Francisco.
Once the call is received, the personnel in San Francisco remotely log off every computer in a given office, which Bloomberg says was the case in the Montreal incident.
In May 2015 about 10 investigators for the Quebec tax authority burst into Uber Technologies Inc's office in Montreal.
It's no secret that corporations often employ questionable and often downright illegal tactics to hide sensitive, potentially incriminating evidence from investigators.
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.
Uber first developed the system, initially called the "unexpected visitor protocol", after a police raid in its Brussels office, where Belgian law enforcement officers accessed the company's financial documents, payments system and worker data. It cooperated with a second search warrant that explicitly covered the files and agreed to collect provincial taxes for each ride.
In order to address these types of situations, the ride-hailing company uses software to protect its data, which is commonplace among companies that operate internationally. The company used it at least two dozen times in situations with authorities in foreign countries, according to Bloomberg. The three people with knowledge of the tool believe it was justified, however, since they claim authorities outside the U.S. didn't always come with warrants and often relied on rather broad orders.
Uber is once again making headlines again with another secret software referred to as "Ripley".
Ensign said the company shut down Ripley in 2016 because it didn't work well.
Uber doesn't have a very good relationship with regulators, and by that I mean it seems to do everything it can to avoid letting them do any investigation into the company. Further, the judge said that Uber's actions demonstrated "all the characteristics of an attempt to obstruct justice".
When we asked Uber for comment, a spokesperson replied with the company's official statement: "Like every company with offices around the world, we have security procedures in place to protect corporate and customer data". "When it comes to government investigations, it's our policy to cooperate with all valid searches and requests for data". It's also facing at least four other inquiries by the USA government. She said Uber's guidance to employees bars use of the tool where it isn't legal.
As for software like Ripley, Prey or uLocker, Uber said there's nothing secretive about it.