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The letter contended that Jacobs had been wrongfully demoted, then fired for trying to stop the company's alleged misconduct.

The trial between Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving auto subsidiary, and Uber over the rideshare company's alleged theft of intellectual property took a turn toward ludicrous during a hearing in San Francisco on Tuesday. "I had questions about the ethics of it".

Most recently, Uber revealed that the data of 57 million Uber customers and 600,000 drivers had been stolen in a breach more than a year ago, and that the company had paid two hackers $100,000 to cover it up.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup ordered Uber's former security manager Richard Jacobs to testify about the evidence: a sealed demand letter his lawyer sent to Uber's in-house lawyer Angela Padilla after he was forced to resign earlier this year.

Jacobs was employed by Uber from March 2016 to April 2017, according to his LinkedIn page.

The unit worked in parallel to Uber, and used "anonymous servers" that were separate from the main company to carry out its work.

Alsup received the letter from the US Attorney's office, which is conducting a criminal investigation into Uber.

But Jacobs said that his lawyer was mistaken in making that allegation.

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"It is possible that he has been bought off by Uber", Alsup said of Jacobs at one point during Tuesday's drama.

Waymo said that it had learned about the letter last week from the Department of Justice, according to MSNBC. "I can't trust anything you say because it has been proven wrong so many times", Alsup told Uber attorney Arturo Gonzalez. In October, he chided Uber layers for disclosing thousands of emails to Waymo just before the trial had been set to begin.

Waymo on Tuesday secured the delay of a trial against Uber over driverless vehicle technology that had been scheduled to start on December 4.

They also asked about training that the unit had been given to evade discovery and investigation including hiding communications, copying lawyers on letters in order to gain legal privilege, encryption, and using email only as a "last resort". But the judge wasn't swayed.

"It turns out the server is only for the dummies and the real stuff goes on the shadow system", Alsup said Tuesday during what was supposed to be a hearing to hammer out details ahead of next week's trial. In previous hearings, Uber said searches for stolen Waymo documents on its servers came up largely empty, thereby proving the company's innocence. "None of the testimony (Tuesday) changes the merits of the case", Uber said.

A federal court judge in California delayed the start of a civil trial between ride-hailing giant Uber and Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving vehicle unit, after receiving a memo written by a former Uber employee that about the alleged theft of trade secrets. A new start date hasn't been set.

Waymo sued Uber and co-defendant Ottomotto, a driverless trucking startup founded by former Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski, on trade secret theft claims this past February.

Uber identified employees at rival companies it believed it could flip in pursuit of competitors' secrets.


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