Friday, 22 February, 2019


Second Apple staffer charged with stealing self-driving vehicle secrets

Apple Engineer Accused of Leaking Confidential Autonomous Vehicle Information To China- Report Chinese worker allegedly caught stealing Apple self-driving car secrets
Conrad Doyle | 01 February, 2019, 19:13

A June 20 image found on Chen's personally owned computer showed "an Apple-designed wiring harness for an autonomous vehicle". The iTitan swiftly suspended him with pay, and reported the issue to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The FBI reportedly arrested a Chinese national working for Apple the day before he planned to fly back to China with thousands of files on his laptop, including Apple's intellectual property. Apple asked him to delay flying until January 22, which he agreed to, and then told his employers he would be flying out on the 23rd.

According to a criminal complaint filed in District Court in San Jose, California, Apple said it would be "enormously damaging" for the company if the confidential material got out. Within hours of getting the green light from a judge, the Feds swooped, and collared and charged Chen, just before he got on the plane to the Middle Kingdom.

Chen's arrest follows that of another engineer on the same project, Xiaolang Zhang, who was arrested in June at San Jose airport in California on his way from the USA to China. One - Apple is definitely working on a auto of all things, and two - the US - China relations are not going to ease up any time soon. He thought that was suspicious and alerted Apple security.

Zhang made preparations to depart from Apple earlier this year while on paternity leave.

Apple hired Jizhong Chen last June to work on its self-driving auto project, which employs around 1,200 people.

This is the second Apple employee to be charged in the theft of trade secrets specifically tied to Project Titan. NBC reports that investigators found about a hundred photographs taken inside an Apple building on his hard drive.

And if that sounds like an exciting prospect to you rather than a dystopian nightmare, welcome to Apple!

As a result of the allegations against Chen, he faces upwards of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $250,000.

He was released last week after surrendering his passport and posting $100,000 in bail.

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