Other companies have shut off computers during police raids and later granted access after reviewing warrants, according to Bloomberg. The team went ahead and remotely logged off all terminals in the office, leaving the investigators red-faced. Ripley stands out because it was used regularly. The report states, "Uber has reason to be cautious with the sensitive information it holds about customers and their locations around the world". It allowed a remote team to lock, shut off, and change passwords on devices the company feared would be targeted by investigators in foreign countries.
The company says it did have a security system in pace to protect data, but insists it cooperates with "all valid searches".
The software, named after Sigourney Weaver's character in the Alien franchise, would lock down computers to prevent the police or anyone outside the company from accessing data.
As Uber has expanded - opening offices in 78 countries worldwide - sometimes local authorities have raided its offices.
The specially trained staff then remotely log off every computer in that office, Bloomberg reported, "making it practically impossible for the authorities to retrieve the company records they'd obtained a warrant to collect".
The tool, dubbed Ripley after the female heroine in the movie Alien, was in use from the spring of 2015 until late in 2016 in cities such as Paris, Hong Kong and Brussels, said Uber spokeswoman Melanie Ensign.
Uber said in a statement that, like all companies, it has various security procedures in place to protect its data.
In May, the US Justice Department launched an investigation into the firm over its alleged use of the "Greyball" software that facilitated the evasion of local regulators in towns where Uber wasn't licensed to operate.
In the report, people with knowledge of Uber's operations say that the system, called Ripley, was a closely guarded secret.
A year after the incident, the judge in the Quebec tax authority's lawsuit against Uber wrote that "Uber wanted to shield evidence of its illegal activities".
Uber said in an April 21 letter to the city that its own investigation indicated that Greyball was used "exceedingly sparingly" in Portland.
Uber said that it doesn't destroy evidence and it has let government officials walk out the door with company laptops before - it all depends if the data the authorities want is covered by legal privilege, such as correspondence between Uber and a lawyer. It's also facing at least four other inquiries by the U.S. government.