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Uber Engaged in ‘Illegal’ Spying on Rivals, Ex-Employee Says

Mr. Jacobs’s letter is a part of a commerce secrets and techniques case that Uber is preventing in opposition to Waymo, the self-driving-automobile enterprise that operates underneath Google’s mum or dad firm. Waymo has stated Uber stole details about driverless-car expertise from it. Uber has denied Waymo’s allegations, and the case is scheduled to go to trial subsequent month.

Mr. Jacobs’s letter surfaced final month when the USA lawyer’s workplace in Northern California alerted the federal choose within the Uber-Waymo case to its existence. The letter was submitted into proof as a result of it additionally detailed allegations that Uber staff doubtlessly conspired to steal commerce secrets and techniques from Waymo. The choose, William Alsup of Federal District Courtroom in San Francisco, then delayed a trial within the case so Waymo’s attorneys might collect extra info on the claims.

On the time, Mr. Jacobs appeared in court docket about his letter. In his testimony, he walked again a few of its claims, together with these pertaining to Uber’s alleged theft of Waymo’s commerce secrets and techniques. Uber had privately settled a lawsuit by Mr. Jacobs for tens of millions of this 12 months.

The doc nonetheless paints an image of Uber’s different aggressive ways, which Mr. Jacobs stated had been carried out by Uber’s safety group with Mr. Kalanick’s information. On the time, the group was led by Joe Sullivan, the corporate’s chief safety officer.

Mr. Jacobs’s letter stated that after the Uber groups adopted rival executives to motels or non-public assembly areas, they relayed their actions to Mr. Kalanick. In a single occasion, Uber safety officers handed alongside the reactions of executives from a competing firm after they obtained the information that Uber was to obtain a enterprise capital funding of greater than $three billion from Saudi Arabian buyers.

“Whereas we haven’t substantiated all of the claims on this letter — and, importantly, any associated to Waymo — our new management has made clear that going ahead we’ll compete actually and pretty, on the energy of our concepts and expertise,” Matt Kallman, a spokesman for Uber, stated in an announcement after the letter’s launch.

Uber is dealing with at the very least 5 separate federal investigations, together with at the very least one over a software program software referred to as “Greyball,” which the corporate created to evade legislation enforcement in cities world wide. It is usually dealing with an investigation into whether or not the corporate broke the International Corrupt Practices Act for bribery abroad, a declare Mr. Jacobs made in his letter.

Two of Uber’s prime safety officers — together with Mr. Sullivan and Craig Clark, a lawyer on Mr. Sullivan’s group — have been let go this month, after the corporate disclosed that it had lined up a 2016 hacking that affected the accounts of greater than 50 million drivers and riders.

On Friday, Mr. Sullivan and others on the safety group disputed Mr. Jacobs’s letter, saying it was “nothing greater than character assassination for money,” in line with an announcement from Matthew Umhofer, an lawyer for 4 Uber safety staff. “Jacobs took the nice work my purchasers did and twisted it into one thing it wasn’t,” Mr. Umhofer stated.

In his personal assertion, Mr. Sullivan stated, “From the place I sat, my group acted ethically, with integrity and in the most effective pursuits of our drivers and riders.”

By a spokeswoman, Mr. Kalanick declined to remark.

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