Oct 3, 2017

Media pushes to keep Uber-Waymo trade secrets trial public

The Waymo logo is shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit (Paul Sancya / AP)

BuzzFeed News, the New York Times, Bloomberg, Dow Jones, Hearst, Vox, Gizmodo and other outlets are opposing a request from Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving car company, to keep key portions of the Uber-Waymo trade secrets trial confidential. The two companies are scheduled for a jury trial this month.

Why it matters: In addition to juicy accusations, futuristic technology and eccentric personalities, the case offers a view into the inner workings of two of the most important and consequential technology companies, as well as their plans for the future of transportation.

Go deeper: Here's a look at what exactly Waymo wants to keep secret.

The issue: The two companies have tried hard to keep confidential as much information as possible, often filing court documents that are mostly or entirely redacted, much to the frustration of the presiding judge who has warned them that it's in the public interest to keep the case publicly accessible.

The media: Gizmodo describes Waymo's efforts as "a hypocritical disavowal of its previous arguments for transparency," while BuzzFeed argues that the court shouldn't rule a certain way "simply because America's largest tech companies favor secrecy over transparency."

Waymo: "Waymo welcomes a public trial and we will work with all parties to minimize closed courtroom time," it said in a statement. "We have asked to close the courtroom in only a limited set of circumstances to protect Waymo's trade secrets and confidential business information, as well as current and former employees' private employment information."

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