Ex-Uber worker accused of stealing Google self-driving trade secrets

An ex-engineer at Google parent-owned self-driving car company Waymo was arrested on Tuesday after he was accused of stealing secure company information as he left to work for Uber.

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Anthony Levandowski was indicted on theft of trade secret charges, the U.S. Attorney and the FBI said. Lewandowski is said to have been one of the founding members at Waymo, where he worked from 2009 through 2016.

Months before he left Waymo, Levandowski allegedly downloaded secure files from Google – at a time when he was purportedly involved with two competing companies, one of which was acquired by Uber. Lewandowski was then hired by Uber.

“All of us have the right to change jobs, none of us has the right to fill our pockets on the way out the door,” U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson said in a statement. “Theft is not innovation.”

An Uber spokesperson said that the company has “cooperated with the government throughout their investigation and will continue to do so.”

Uber terminated Levandowski in 2017 after he refused to comply with a court order.

A spokesperson for Waymo said the company has “always believed competition should be fueled by innovation,” adding that it appreciates the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI on the case.

Levandowski is being charged with 33 counts of attempted theft and attempted theft of trade secrets. If he is convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, and restitution, for each violation.

He is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday.

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