Uber bosses told staff to use ‘kill switch’ during raids to stop police seeing data

Senior executives involved in global operation to thwart law enforcement, leaked files reveal. Senior executives at Uber ordered the use of a “kill switch” to prevent police and regulators from accessing sensitive data during raids on its offices in at least six countries, leaked files reveal. The instructions to block authorities from accessing its IT systems were part of a sophisticated global operation by the Silicon Valley company to thwart law enforcement.

… In a message sent at 3.14pm, apparently after the raid had begun, De Kievit emailed an Uber IT engineer in Denmark, saying: “Please kill access now,” copying in executives including Kalanick and Gore-Coty, who ran Uber’s operations in western Europe. Thirteen minutes later, the technician wrote back, confirming the procedure was “done now”. This approach to what staff called “unexpected visitors” would evolve the following year after a raid in Brussels by police investigating Uber’s use of regular drivers without a cab licence, a service known at the time as “UberPop.”