The Washington PostThe Washington Post

'Hit the kill switch': Uber used covert tech to thwart government raids

By Faiz Siddiqui and Joseph Menn

10 Jul 2022 · 17 min read

Editor's Note

A WaPo investigation into how ride-hailing app Uber escaped authorities by activating a "kill switch", rendering computers in Uber offices useless to escape scrutiny.

Twenty minutes after authorities raided Uber's Amsterdam office in April 2015, Ligea Wells's computer screen mysteriously went blank. The executive assistant tapped out a text warning her boss of another strange occurrence on an already eventful day.

"hi!" she typed in a message that's part of a trove of more than 124,000 previously undisclosed Uber records. "My laptop shut down after acting funny."

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content