Four former employees on Uber Technologies Inc.’s security team are claiming in court that the company is trying to block them from disclosing “a number of deeply troubling practices at Uber that have not been publicly revealed.”
The ex-employees didn’t substantiate their claim in a filing Friday in state court in San Francisco. They were responding to last week’s complaint by the ride-hailing giant accusing them of improperly taking confidential records when they left the company and using the information to draft their own lawsuit against Uber.
The four — Mat Henley, Nicholas Gicinto, Edward Russo and Jacob Nocon — said in the filing that they have evidence of “potentially criminal initiatives against competitors, secret capabilities embedded in Uber’s smartphone applications, and offensive intrusions into the privacy of users.”
“We don’t object to these former employees making any claims they wish,” Uber spokesman Matt Kallman said in an emailed statement. “What we do object to is their walking off with company property and their misuse of privileged information for personal gain.”
The legal filings are part of the wide-reaching fallout from Waymo’s lawsuit alleging that Uber stole its trade secrets for self-driving cars — which the companies settled this year in the middle of a trial.
During the Waymo case, a former colleague of the four men, Richard Jacobs, took the witness stand to detail accusations he had presented to federal prosecutors that the company’s security unit engaged in questionable corporate surveillance tactics and illegal activities. Henley, Gicinto, Russo and Nocon later sued Jacobs for defamation, alleging his claims were untrue.
The four contend Uber not only failed to defend their reputations but also repeated some of Jacobs’s false statements. They’ve drafted a complaint against the company for defamation and wrongful termination, according to Friday’s filing.