"I had questions about the ethics of it".
The Marketplace Analytics team was instructed to use encrypted, ephemeral communication on devices that couldn't be attributed to the company, Jacobs said, in order to "make sure we didn't create a paper trail that would come back to haunt the company in any potential criminal or civil litigation".
Uber Technologies Inc withheld evidence in a lawsuit filed by Alphabet Inc's Waymo, a USA judge said on Tuesday, delaying a trial to give Waymo time to review a letter alleging Uber trained employees to steal trade secrets and hide their tracks.
Last Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Alsup received a letter from the acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California investigating allegations into anticompetitive behavior at the ride-hailing company, according to court filings.
A trade theft trial between Uber and Alphabet's autonomous vehicle unit Waymo has been delayed after a hearing in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Uber's espionage team also hired contractors who employed former Central Intelligence Agency agents to help with its surveillance, according to Jacobs.More news: Kylie Jenner's Festive Thanksgiving Spread Was Seriously Awe-Worthy
A Waymo lawyer asked Jacobs about an attorney on staff at Uber who allegedly gave them guidance in their aims to "impede, obstruct, or influence" lawsuits that were filed against the company. The delay of the trial, previously set to kick off December 4, came after Waymo filed a last-minute motion Monday that claimed Uber had "intentionally".
Jacobs said he learned of this activity through discussions at Uber with his manager and other colleagues. The judge also called Uber's espionage team "a plumber's unit doing bad deeds".
"There is a 50-50 chance that this is going to turn out very bad for Uber", Alsup said.
The case follows Waymo's February lawsuit against Uber, which claimed that a former Waymo exec Anthony Levendowski shared confidential files with Uber. 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.
Softbank, the Japanese firm leading the proposed investment, is proposing to buy the shares at a 30 percent discount from Uber's previous valuation of roughly $68 billion, according to multiple media reports citing unnamed people familiar with the terms.