Uber set up a covert unit tasked with stealing competitors’ secrets and engaging in undercover surveillance, a letter published by a US court on Friday has alleged.
It is critical evidence in Uber’s legal battle with Waymo, the self-driving car company that accuses the ride-sharing firm of stealing its technology.
The letter, sent by lawyers representing a former Uber employee, sparked an internal investigation when it was sent to Uber in May, but has not been made public until now.
In a statement, Uber said: “While we haven’t substantiated all the claims in this 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.”
The allegations in the letter were made by Richard Jacobs, who worked at Uber until February this year. He left after an incident in which he felt he was unfairly demoted. Shortly afterwards, he sent the letter alleging the misconduct.
“These tactics were employed clandestinely through a distributed architecture of anonymous servers, telecommunications architecture, and non-attributable hardware and software,” the letter read.