An ex-Apple engineer on Monday, 09 July 2018 was charged with stealing secrets from a hush-hush self-driving car technology project days before he quit to go to a Chinese startup.
Xiaolang Zhang was in custody for stealing trade secrets from the Apple project.
According to reports by The Mercury News, Zhang, who worked for Apple from December 2015 until May 2018, has been charged in federal court with stealing trade secrets, and faces 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Zhang was arrested trying to leave the country.
“Apple takes confidentiality and the protection of our intellectual property very seriously,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said in an email. “We’re working with authorities on this matter and will do everything possible to make sure this individual and other individuals involved are held accountable for their actions.”
Zhang, who now claims to be working for XMotors in Mountain View, came to Apple in December 2015 to work as a hardware engineer on a team trying to develop autonomous cars, authorities said. Apple has kept that research and development a closely guarded secret, and authorities said Zhang was granted broad access to confidential internal databases.
When Zhang turned in his two company-issued iPhones and his laptop, Apple’s tech security team reviewed the history on his devices and found that his download activity increased dramatically and included information from confidential files, authorities said.
Zhang generated 581 rows of user activity on April 28 alone; in the previous month, authorities said, he generated 610 rows.
Representatives for Xpeng and Alibaba could not be reached for comment in time for publication.