Current in addition to also also former Uber security staffers cast doubt on spying claims

The former security chief of Uber Technologies swore in a closed legal proceeding of which he knew of no attempts to steal trade secrets by anyone, including Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo, in addition to also also would likely be “shocked” if of which had occurred.

In a deposition taken in mid-December near San Francisco, Joe Sullivan, Uber’s security chief by 2015 to 2017, said of which the most explosive claims made by another former Uber employee of unethical in addition to also also illegal behavior by members of his security team were false.

The testimony, described to Reuters by people familiar with the item, came in connection using a lawsuit brought by Waymo which accuses arch rival Uber of stealing trade secrets.

Sullivan’s testimony has not been made public. He has not spoken in open court or spoken publicly since leaving Uber in November, when he was fired following an investigation.

The previously unreported testimony by the onetime senior Uber official, as well as interviews conducted by Reuters with 5 current in addition to also also former Uber employees, rebuts statements made in an explosive 37-page letter last year of which triggered the internal probe in addition to also also drew the attention of federal prosecutors, who are still investigating.

The letter was written by an attorney for Richard Jacobs, a security analyst who worked at Uber by 2016 to 2017 in addition to also also was about to be fired, Jacobs has acknowledged.

Jacobs’ lawyer wrote of which Uber’s security apparatus was engaged in stealing trade secrets, spying on rival executives in addition to also also wiretapping, among additional questionable behavior.

Uber’s internal probe of Jacobs’ claims also uncovered something brand new, which was not mentioned in Jacobs’ letter: an undisclosed 2016 data breach in addition to also also a $100,000 payout to a hacker in Florida. This particular discovery led to Uber firing Sullivan in addition to also also legal deputy Craig Clark for failing to hold the company disclose the breach to customers in addition to also also regulators.

Waymo seized on the claims made by Jacobs because they explicitly mentioned of which Uber had stolen Waymo trade secrets, in addition to also also Waymo was already suing Uber in a federal court for theft of trade secrets.

Sullivan in his testimony in addition to also also the additional executives in interviews with Reuters questioned Uber’s decision to pay Jacobs a $7.5 million settlement in addition to also also offer him a consulting contract in connection with his threats to expose Uber’s alleged wrongdoing.

An Uber spokesman did not comment on the implication of Sullivan’s testimony, however said of which Uber had already substantiated some of Jacobs’ claims, although nothing related to Waymo. He added of which the company can be “changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of everything we do.” A spokeswoman for Waymo declined to comment.

Jacobs’ attorney inside the Waymo case, Martha Boersch, who did not write the 37-page-letter, did not respond to requests for comment. Jacobs did not respond to a request for comment.

Attorneys for Waymo have said in court of which over the nearly year-long case they have amassed a file of evidence against Uber in addition to also also were ready to go to trial before the revelation of the Jacobs letter, which came days before the original trial date. On Friday, Waymo filed a court document of which said the item had corroborated some of Jacobs’ claims about Uber’s data-gathering efforts against rivals, however the specifics were redacted.

In interviews with Reuters, three current Uber executives repeated Sullivan’s rejection of Jacobs’ claims in addition to also also said they were unaware any of the lawbreaking allegations by Jacobs. They called false Jacobs’ statements of which the security unit had misused attorney-client privilege or encouraged the use of ephemeral messaging services in order to cover up improper behavior.

Uber received the letter by Jacobs in May 2017, however the item was not publicly disclosed until November, when federal prosecutors shared the letter with the judge overseeing the Uber-Waymo lawsuit. The judge delayed the trial to allow Waymo attorneys to question Sullivan in addition to also also additional Uber employees about the letter.

In his own recent court appearance inside the Waymo case, Jacobs stood by his claims of which Uber’s security team spied on in addition to also also stole by competitors in addition to also also tried covered its tracks. however he admitted
he was not aware of Uber stealing anything by Waymo, contradicting part of his letter. He attributed the contradiction to a miscommunication with the attorney who wrote the item on his behalf.

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