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Uber used a shady trick called a ‘kill switch’ to evade police raids

It used the “kill switch” to stop law enforcement from cracking down on the company in Europe.

Uber logo with blurred background showing driver
Image: KnowTechie

A recent dump of leaked documents has revealed how Uber previously used a “kill switch” tactic to stop law enforcement from seeing certain information during police raids in Europe several years ago.

The leaked documents were recently acquired and revealed in an article from The Guardian. They show how Uber used this “kill switch” protocol at least a dozen times. The company used the protocol to stop authorities in Europe from cracking down on the company.

In 2017, Uber was still illegal in many European countries. At the time, the company would use the “kill switch” protocol to hide data from law enforcement raids. The process was seemingly led by co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick and approved by the company’s lawyers.

“We have not and will not make excuses for past behavior that is clearly not in line with our present values. Instead, we ask the public to judge us by what we’ve done over the last five years and what we will do in the years to come,” said Uber senior vice president of marketing and public affairs, Jill Hazelbaker.

Though Kalanick is thought to be the mastermind behind the “kill switch,” they were not the only executive involved in the protocol. Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, who currently runs Uber Eats, also found himself involved in the “kill switch” protocol.

READ MORE: Uber rides in New York City are the most expensive in America

“I was young and inexperienced and too often took direction from superiors with questionable ethics,” said Gore-Coty to The Guardian.

Uber found itself amid several scandals and controversies during 2017. That eventually led to the end of Kalanick’s reign as CEO.

Kalanick’s replacement, Dara Khosrowshahi, has had his hands full trying to change how the company operates. And things are likely to get much tougher for them thanks to the massive document leak The Guardian recently obtained.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at

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