Uber Used Undercover Agents, Court Letter Says

  • Uber Used Undercover Agents, Court Letter Says

Uber Used Undercover Agents, Court Letter Says

Jacobs himself, who is now working for Uber as a $1 million-a-year consultant, walked back some of the letter's bombshell accusations in court last month, saying he had only hastily reviewed it before his lawyer sent it. The document paints a picture of a team of employees dedicated to spying on rivals and "impeding" legal investigations into the company.

Uber is facing at least five federal investigations, including at least one over a software tool called "Greyball", which the company created to evade law enforcement in cities worldwide.

"We're going to have to put the trial off because if even half of what's in that letter is true it would be a huge injustice to force Waymo to go to trial". "The competitive information gathering that was done at the explicit request of management was unremarkable and no different than what's done by law-abiding companies across the country and Uber's own competitors".

The latter details the former Uber employee's experiences at the company from March 2016 through April 2017.

Intelligence was gathered, the letter claims, "to determine which political figures may have been supporting opposition groups in the taxi/transport sector", as well as to identify someone or some group that had been allegedly ordered to "begin targeting Uber vehicles for harassment and impoundment".

Mr. Jacobs appeared in court last month to testify about his evidence, which he had written in a letter to Uber executives.

The letter also accuses Uber employees of fraudulently impersonating riders and drivers on competitor platforms, hacking into competitor networks, and surreptitiously recording private conversations of other companies' executives. Jacobs claims in his letter that Uber workers went to extreme lengths to hide surveillance activities from authorities.

He also alleged Uber wiretapped bosses at a competitor during a "two-to-three week" period of surveillance against them. To do this, multiple surveillance teams infiltrated private-event spaces at hotel and conference facilities that the group of [REDACTED] executives used during their stay.

But Jacobs alleges Uber went far beyond typical corporate intelligence gathering by using covert, militaristic-style tactics and engaging in criminal activity.

"While we haven't substantiated all the claims in Mr. Jacobs' letter - and, importantly, any related to Waymo - our new leadership has made clear that going forward we will compete honestly and fairly, on the strength of our ideas and technology", Matt Kallman, an Uber spokesman, said in a statement.

As part of its ongoing litigation with Alphabet's Waymo self-driving unit, a new letter from Uber's former manager of global intelligence makes startling accusations towards the ride-hailing company.

The letter was disclosed in the civil trade secrets case after prosecutors took the rare step of turning it over to U.S. District Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California, who had referred the case to the local U.S. Attorney's office in light of the trade secret theft claims. "You should have come clean with this long ago", he subsequently told Uber's lawyers in court.

It also resulted in the trial being delayed a second time, with the judge setting a new start date of February 5.

Alsup had said that if Cooper determined Uber was culpable for the omission, he might inform the jury in the case that Uber had deliberately withheld evidence.

Uber maintained that it did not withhold information because the letter was outside of Waymo's discovery demands.