Google’s self-driving car firm suffers insider data breach

Uber is being sued for stealing trade secrets and technology from Google. Waymo, owned by Alphabet is taking legal action against Otto, a company that was bought by Uber in 2016 for $700 million.

The lawsuit alleges former Waymo manager Anthony Levandowski stole 14,000 documents amounting to 9.7GB of highly confidential and propietary design files that he downloaded.

Waymo said on its blog “Our parent company Alphabet has long worked with Uber in many areas, and we didn’t make this decision lightly,”

“However, given the overwhelming facts that our technology has been stolen, we have no choice but to defend our investment and development of this unique technology.”

The technology in question is LiDAR, a laser-based radar system that helps the self-driving cars “see” what is around them.

In court documents filed on Thursday, Waymo alleges one of its employees was recently copied in to an email intended for Otto’s staff. Attached to the email were said to be machine drawings of Otto’s LiDAR circuit board.”

“Its design bore a striking resemblance to Waymo’s unique LiDAR design,” Waymo said.

“We found that six weeks before his resignation this former employee, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s various hardware systems, including designs of Waymo’s LiDAR and circuit board.

“To gain access to Waymo’s design server, Mr Levandowski searched for and installed specialised software onto his company-issued laptop. Once inside, he downloaded 9.7 GB of Waymo’s highly confidential files and trade secrets, including blueprints, design files and testing documentation.”

“Then he connected an external drive to the laptop. Mr Levandowski then wiped and reformatted the laptop in an attempt to erase forensic fingerprints.”



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