The relationship was tense, Mr. Gicinto recalled, and each males appeared uneasy about sharing management.

Still, their work ramped up rapidly. The group, which grew to incorporate dozens of workers, wished to maintain monitor of Uber’s rivals abroad, whether or not they had been taxi drivers or executives on the Chinese ride-hailing agency Didi. But in addition they wanted to guard their very own executives from surveillance, and fend off web-scraping operations, which used automated techniques to gather details about Uber’s pricing and driver provide.

It was an amazing activity. To sustain, the staff outsourced a number of the initiatives to intelligence companies, which despatched contractors to infiltrate driver protests. Other work was completed in home, as Uber constructed its personal scraping system to assemble massive quantities of competitor knowledge. Scraping public knowledge is authorized, however the regulation limits the usage of such knowledge for industrial functions.

The staff rushed to rent extra employees, and Mr. Gicinto recruited individuals he knew from his time on the C.I.A.: a fellow agent, Ed Russo, and Jake Nocon, a former agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, who met Mr. Gicinto once they labored on the Joint Terrorism Task Force in San Diego.

When Jean Liu, Didi’s chief government, visited the Bay Area, Uber had her tailed. And when Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief government on the time, traveled to Beijing, workers tried to throw off Didi’s surveillance groups, shuttling Mr. Kalanick’s telephones to different accommodations so his location would ping in a spot he wasn’t.

“To us, every bit of this was this game of helping our executives carry out their meetings without divulging who they were meeting,” Mr. Henley, who led Uber’s international menace operations, mentioned. “And it was super fun, right? It was a cat-and-mouse game going back and forth.”


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