Ex-Employee: Uber ‘Secretly Wiretapped’ Executives at Rival Companies

Uber illegally recorded phone calls and wiretapped the phones of executives at rival companies in a global “intelligence gathering” operation that went on for years, a former employee has alleged. In a 37-page letter made public in federal court on Friday, Richard Jacobs, a former security employee with the ride-hailing service, alleges Uber set up internal teams whose sole purpose was to spy on competitors. “Uber has engaged, and continues to engage, in illegal intelligence gathering on a global scale,” Jacobs wrote, according to The New York Times. The teams allegedly infiltrated chat rooms, impersonated drivers of rival companies, and placed surveillance on executives of those companies, including by illegally recording phone calls, the letter claims. Jacobs’ allegations stem from a trade secrets case against Uber filed by Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving unit, which says Uber stole information about autonomous driving technology. The claims come as Uber faces five separate federal investigations, including one over a software tool the company allegedly used to evade law enforcement and another over alleged bribery overseas. Uber has also come under fire recently for reportedly covering up a massive 2016 data breach.