Ex-Google engineer sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing autonomous car secrets

Former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for stealing autonomous automobile secrets and techniques.

Levandowski was employed by Google’s self-driving automobile division Waymo when he transferred over 14,000 secret recordsdata to his laptop computer earlier than leaving the corporate.

The stolen recordsdata have been taken to Uber, the place Levandowski led the agency’s personal robotaxi mission. US District Decide William Alsup referred to as Levandowski’s actions the “greatest commerce secret crime I’ve ever seen”.

Uber claims it wasn’t conscious of the stolen recordsdata and fired Levandowski in 2017. Levandowski filed a motion in April to arbitrate Uber in a bid to cowl the $179 million lawsuit towards him.

When Uber acquired self-driving truck startup Otto in 2016, the corporate reportedly signed an indemnity settlement which agreed to compensate Levandowski towards claims introduced ahead by his former employer. “Uber eats injunctions for breakfast,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick allegedly advised Levandowski.

Levandowski filed for chapter in March because of the $179 million sum owed to Google’s mum or dad firm, Alphabet.

“Billions [of dollars] sooner or later have been at play and – when these sorts of monetary incentives are there – good individuals will do horrible issues,” mentioned Decide Alsup. “That’s what occurred right here.”

Levandowski pleaded responsible to keep away from the as much as 10 years in jail he might have confronted. Nevertheless, the engineer hoped to be sentenced to 12 months’ confinement in his San Francisco dwelling.

Making the case for dwelling confinement, Levandowski mentioned he had pneumonia and will die from COVID-19 in jail. Decide Alsup dominated that Levandowski can start his sentence after the pandemic has peaked.

Issuing a non-custodial sentence can be a “inexperienced mild to each future sensible engineer to steal commerce secrets and techniques,” Decide Alsup mentioned.

Prosecutors aimed for a 27-month sentence, so – in that sense – Levandowski has received off flippantly.

(Picture Credit score: MCE 2016 by Transport Topics beneath CC BY-SA 2.0 license)

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Ryan Daws