The evidence in question is a letter from former Uber security analyst Ric Jacobs. The letter contended that Jacobs had been wrongfully demoted, then fired for trying to stop the company's alleged misconduct.
Those strategies included housing sensitive, potentially incriminating information on separate servers that weren't connected to the rest of Uber, and using encrypted, self-deleting messaging technology to orchestrate their efforts. Hackers stole the personal information of 57 million Uber users in October 2016, and Uber paid the hackers $100,000 to keep the theft secret.
Waymo, the self-driving auto company spun out of Google's moonshot unit, has accused Uber of recruiting its former employees and stealing its trade secrets in order to advance its development of autonomous vehicles. He didn't specify which competitors Uber had targeted but said some of the stolen information involved drivers.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup agreed to Waymo's request to delay the trial scheduled for next week, saying in San Francisco federal court that "if even half of what this letter is true it would be a huge injustice to force Waymo to go to trial" as planned.
To protect itself against potential trouble, Uber frequently communicated on a service called Wickr that automatically erases messages, according to Jacobs.
Uber's espionage team also hired contractors who employed former Central Intelligence Agency agents to help with its surveillance, according to Jacobs.
Summary: The trade secret lawsuit between Waymo and Uber has been postponed. He insisted he didn't know anything about Uber's espionage team trying to steal anything in the US, explaining he missed the purported mistake because he spent only about 20 minutes reviewing it while he was on vacation with his wife. Jacobs said he settled with Uber in August over his termination for $4.5 million.
The hearing on Tuesday gave Alsup reason to doubt Uber's testimony. The sealed letter only came to light early last week after the Justice Department told Alsup that it existed.
The delay gives Waymo ― a self-driving auto business owned by Google's parent company ― time to investigate numerous bombshell allegations revealed in court Tuesday and (presumably) bolster its case. Legal trainings within the company also allegedly served to help employees evade investigators. But the judge wasn't swayed. "And there is a 50-50 chance that this will turn out to be a dry hole".
Waymo has estimated damages in the case at about $1.9 billion and wants to curtail Uber's self-driving auto program, which Waymo says uses its technology. "None of the testimony (Tuesday) changes the merits of the case", Uber said.
A federal judge on Tuesday indefinitely delayed a high-stakes trial over whether Uber stole trade secrets on self-driving vehicles from rival Waymo, after federal prosecutors revealed evidence obtained in a criminal probe that it may have done so. He didn't immediately set a new trial date. Levendowski left his role at Waymo in January 2016 to found another self-driving vehicle company called Otto, which was acquired by Uber in August 2016.
However, he did say that Uber acquired private code from an overseas competitor, and that Uber tried to identify employees at competitive companies who might leak to them.