U.S. DOJ charges Apple ex-employee for attempting to steal technology, fleeing to China appeared first on MacDailyNews. U.S. DOJ charges Apple ex-employee for attempting to steal technology, fleeing to China appeared first on MacDailyNews. U.S. DOJ charges Apple ex-employee for attempting to steal technology, fleeing to China appeared first on MacDailyNews. U.S. DOJ charges Apple ex-employee for attempting to steal technology, fleeing to China appeared first on MacDailyNews.
The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday said it has charged former Apple engineer Weibao Wang with attempting to steal the firm’s technology related to autonomous systems, including self-driving cars, and

The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday said it has charged former Apple engineer Weibao Wang with attempting to steal the firm’s technology related to autonomous systems, including self-driving cars, and then fleeing to China. Wang is the third former Apple employee to be accused of stealing autonomous trade secrets for China.

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The allegations against Wang come after another Apple employee, Xiaolang Zhang, pleaded guilty in San Jose federal court to a similar theft involving trade secrets in Apple’s car division.

Sarah N. Lynch, David Shepardson, and Karen Freifeld for Reuters:

“We stand vigilant in enforcing U.S. laws to stop the flow of sensitive technologies to our foreign adversaries,” Matt Olsen, the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, told a press conference. “We are committed to doing all we can to prevent these advanced tools from falling into the hands of foreign adversaries.”

The former Apple engineer, identified as 35-year-old Weibao Wang, formerly resided in Mountain View, California, and was hired by Apple in 2016, according to an April indictment unsealed on Tuesday.

In 2017, he accepted a U.S.-based job with a Chinese company working to develop self-driving cars before resigning from Apple, but waited about four months before informing Apple of his new job, according to the indictment.

After his last day at Apple, the company discovered that he had accessed large amounts of proprietary data in the days before his departure, the Justice Department said. Federal agents searched his home in June 2018 and found “large quantities” of data from Apple, it added. Shortly after the search, he boarded a plane to China, the department said.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in 2019, this “seems like an avoidable problem.”

Back in 2018, Reuters reported that the charges filed in U.S. federal court alleged that Zhang disclosed intentions to work for a Chinese electric car startup and booked a last-minute flight to China after downloading the plan for a circuit board for a self-driving car.

In 2019, another Chinese national was charged with stealing Apple’s autonomous vehicle trade secrets. Jizhong Chen was charged with stealing proprietary information from the company’s self-driving car project while applying to work for a Chinese rival.

A search of a hard drive owned by Chen found thousands of sensitive Apple documents along with 100 photos taken inside the company’s self-driving facility, according to an FBI affidavit.

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