Uber Engineers in San Francisco would have tried to remotely encrypt the data in the Uber Canada computers during the search conducted by Revenu Québec in Montreal last week.
This is what is alleged by Revenu Québec in the information that was filed before Judge Jean-Pierre Braun last week, and that La Presse has obtained. Uber sought to challenge this statement before the judge, but has not had the opportunity, we learn in the injunction Uber also presented in court last week.
Search for Uber Canada offices
On May 14, fifteen Revenu Québec investigators conducted searches of computer data to administrative offices Uber Canada Notre Dame. Investigators are looking for evidence to demonstrate qu’Uber Canada is violating the tax law by not collecting GST and QST on behalf of its drivers to UberX.
Around 10:40, one of the investigators found that “mobile devices such as laptops, smart phones and tablets have been restarted remotely” during the seizure. Another investigator, who performed a second term in another office, found exactly the same phenomenon, also at 10:40. “IT systems were handled remotely, we performed an IT asset takeover by putting off considering the urgency and high risk remote data change,” reads the information presented to Judge Jean-Pierre Braun.
Also according to the denunciation, the CEO of Uber Montreal, Jean-Nicolas Guillemette said later at one of the investigators “that he discussed with the engineers Technology Uber San Francisco and that they had encrypted the Remote data “.
Mr. Guillemette did not return calls yesterday. Uber filed last Friday an injunction for all data and all equipment seized by Revenue Quebec would be sealed until the courts can consider the merits of the case. This request was granted Monday by Judge David R. Collier. By then, Revenu Québec can not view or analyze the content of computers.
Technically, data that have been encrypted are not altered, but modified to make it unreadable without a password.
Revenu Québec has seized a total of 74 mobile phones, 14 computers, invoices dating from 2014 and contracts with partners drivers. The agency tries to demonstrate with the data entered, qu’Uber Canada is not “only an intermediary between the driver and the customer,” but an employer, and as such it must collect the taxes.
Denunciation also reveals that Mr. Guillemette was the subject of a spinning on March 13 by the agents of “Physical surveillance” Revenu Québec. They were mandated to confirm that the offices Uber located on Notre-Dame Street are who Uber Canada inc. They thus followed from his home to his workplace.
Revenu Québec had obtained initially only a mandate to collect data by making copies of hard disks. After finding the restart of the devices, the agency has made to broaden the mandate to allow it to also capture devices. In its injunction, Uber complained of not having been able to present a witness to challenge the credentials of the new warrant. “This witness was quoted [qu’Uber] has not altered or even attempted to alter the data on their computers,” it said.