- On Tuesday, a former Uber employee testified in a trial that the company had a unit dedicated to spying on competitors.
- This team hid their activities in part by using chat apps that encrypt and automatically delete messages, the employee said.
- On Wednesday, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi acknowledged in a tweet that he was aware employees were using apps including Wickr and Telegram, but he banned them soon after he started at the company.
The revelation Tuesday that Uber employees were using encrypted chat apps to conduct company business may have been a surprise to the general public, but it wasn’t a shock to company CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Khosrowshahi acknowledged he had known since about the time he took over as CEO in August that employees were using apps such as Wickr and Telegram. He banned the use of such apps for discussing company business within a month of becoming Uber’s head, he said.
True that Wickr, Telegram were used often at Uber when I came in. As of Sept 27th I directed my teams NOT to use such Apps when discussing Uber-related business.
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) November 29, 2017
Khosrowshahi’s comments followed a former Uber employee’s bombshell trial testimony Tuesday in the company’s lawsuit with Google spinoff Waymo. The employee testified that Uber had a unit dedicated to spying on its competitors and the unit used chat apps that delete and encrypt messages to hide discussions of such efforts.
The revelation is only the latest controversy or setback with which Khosrowshahi, who has promised to change Uber’s culture, has had to wrestle since taking the reins at Uber. In recent months, the company has been forced to cease operations in London; revealed that it had suffered a massive data breach last year, which it allegedly attempted to cover up with a $100,000 payment to hackers; and has had to contend with bickering among board members as it’s been trying to close a $10 billion investment from Softbank.