Ex-Google engineer charged for passing self-driving tech secrets to Uber

A former engineer at Google faces dozens of counts of theft after being accused of creating off with firm commerce secrets linked to self-driving vehicles, which he then allegedly handed to the ride-sharing firm Uber.

The US Department of Justice introduced on Tuesday the costs on 33 counts of theft and tried theft for the previous Googler, Anthony Levandowski, who is claimed to have illicitly downloaded 1000’s of confidential recordsdata from firm computer systems.

Until 2016, Levandowski labored on Google’s self-driving automobile initiative, Project Chauffeur – later dubbed Waymo. He stop to launch his personal startup, which he ultimately offered to Uber. Before leaving, nevertheless, the engineer allegedly transferred “critical engineering information about the hardware used on Project Chauffeur self-driving vehicles” to his personal laptop computer.

He turned himself in on the San Jose courthouse early on Tuesday, and was arraigned on his expenses late within the afternoon. The DOJ wouldn’t say whether or not anybody else can be indicted for the alleged thefts. 

“All of us are free to move from job to job,” US Attorney David Anderson informed the Wall Street Journal. “What we cannot do is stuff our pockets on the way out.”

Though every of Levandowski’s 33 expenses carries a possible 10-year jail sentence and a $250,000 nice, the prosecutor stated he didn’t “want to imply that we would be seeking 330 years.”

Uber commented on the indictment by saying it has “cooperated with the government” within the investigation, whereas Waymo praised the DOJ and the FBI, saying they’ve “always believed competition should be fueled by innovation.”

Levandowski’s attorneys insist the indictments haven’t any benefit, arguing that Waymo beforehand introduced a case in opposition to Uber making comparable allegations in 2017, which was settled the next 12 months. That lawsuit alleged a “striking resemblance” between a few of Waymo’s designs and Uber’s, singling out Levandowski as the thief. Uber agreed to shell out a 0.34 % fairness stake to Waymo – which got here to some $245 million – as a part of the settlement.

“This case rehashes claims already discredited in a civil case that settled more than a year ago,” the protection attorneys stated in an announcement. “Anthony is innocent, and we look forward to proving it at trial.”