(San Francisco) – federal prosecutors are investigating allegations that Uber sent spies to steal trade secrets from rivals. The revelation led to a high-profile trial that delayed whether the embattled car service had stolen self-driving technology from the GuGe spin-off.
A 37page letter from the department of justice is focusing on the charge by former global intelligence manager Richard Jacobs of Uber. Jacobs wrote to Uber lawyers in May. The letter alleges that Jacob was mistakenly demoted and then fired for trying to stop the company from being accused of wrongdoing.
Until Tuesday, the investigation has not yet gone public, when it rise out of the water in the court hearing, the hearing was to make Uber and eight years ago in Google self-driving car pioneer Waym o a experiment was carried out.
The hearing quickly became a BBS, raising more questions about the ethics of Uber and corporate culture. In the past year, optimal step has been due to internal rampant sexual harassment, designed to prevent regulatory technology deception and annual hackers covers 57 million passengers and 600000 driver’s personal information.
Jacob, whose lawyer wrote the letter at the center of the courtroom drama, testified Tuesday that Uber had set up a secret unit to steal trade secrets from its rivals. He didn’t specify which competitors Uber targeted, but said some of the stolen information involved drivers. His allegations were kept secret until last week, when the justice department handed them over to U.S. district judge William Alsup.
To protect itself from potential trouble, Uber often communicates via a service called Wickr, which automatically deletes emails. Jacob testified that the company is also depend on the secret of the computer system to eliminate all the digital path, security group to train Pittsburgh self-driving cars engineers how to hide their electron orbital.
Jacobs said Uber’s spy team also hired contractors who hired former cia agents to assist surveillance.
The letter also alleged that Uber had stolen the business secrets of Waymo and other intellectual property rights in the United States, according to a skeptical Jacob.
But Jacob said his lawyer was wrong to make the allegation. He insisted that he didn’t know Uber spy team steal anything in the United States, he explained that missed the mistake, he says because he is on vacation with his wife, took only about 20 minutes to review this mistake.
Uber paid $4.5 million to Jacobs as part of a secret solution to his shooting, which Jacobs said was being grilled by Waymo lawyer Charles Verhoeven. If Jacob violated the rules that required him not to say any harm to Uber, then some of the settlement could be withheld.
“He may have been bought by Uber,” Alsup said of Jacobs in a play on Tuesday.
In his letter, alsup called the allegations a “scandal” and didn’t notify Uber’s legal team before it was notified by the justice department. “I can’t believe anything you say, because it’s proven wrong,” alsup told Uber lawyer Arturo Gonzalez. The judge also called Uber’s spy team “a cement worker.”
Gonzales has repeatedly tried to convince Alsop that the allegations in Jacob’s letter have nothing to do with Mr. Weiler’s case against him. The lawyer also argued that the company used secret communication channels for reasons of employee safety. But the judge did not waver.
“It’s a very bad opportunity for Uber,” alsup said. “And it’s going to be 50-50, and it’s going to be a dry hole.”
In a defense statement, Uber noted that Jacob’s testimony was that he did not know that the company had stolen any trade secrets from Waymo. “The testimony of [Tuesday] did not change the merits of the case,” Uber said.
Alsup delayed the waymo-uber test that began on December 4, giving Waymo more time to gather evidence. He did not immediately set a new trial date.
Waymo claims that Uber has built its own self-driving fleet using the trade secrets of former Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski. Uber paid $680 million last year for self-driving cars founded by Levandowski after it left Waymo in January 2016.
Uber’s latest bombshell was due to the company’s attempt to sell a $10 billion private stake.
Ahead of a planned investment of Japanese companies Softbank (t) program, with about $68 billion discount price for less than a 30% discount to buy shares, according to several media quoted people familiar with the matter. Part of the reason for the price cuts is that Uber’s reputation has been disrupted, and its rivals, such as Lyft, have been lured away by the search for alternative rides.