Former Apple Software Engineer Charged with Stealing Autonomous Driving Technology Secrets and Fleeing to China
Former Apple Engineer Charged with Stealing Autonomous Driving Trade Secrets and Fleeing to China
Former Apple Software Engineer Charged with Theft of Autonomous Driving Technology Secrets
San Francisco, May 18: A former Apple software engineer has been charged by US authorities for allegedly stealing trade secrets related to autonomous driving technology and fleeing to China. The indictment, filed in a federal court in the Northern District of California, reveals that Weibao Wang, a Chinese citizen, was employed as a software engineer at Apple from March 2016.
Wang stands accused of illicitly obtaining thousands of documents containing the source code for software and hardware associated with Apple’s self-driving car initiatives. The indictment highlights that Wang had signed a confidentiality agreement with Apple and received training on handling confidential materials with discretion.
During his tenure at Apple, Wang worked within a team responsible for the development of hardware and software for autonomous systems, including self-driving cars. Following Wang’s departure from the company on April 16, 2018, Apple representatives reviewed access logs of its network and discovered substantial activity by Wang involving sensitive proprietary and confidential information.
“In the days leading up to his departure from Apple, Wang was found to have accessed significant amounts of proprietary and confidential information,” stated the US Department of Justice (DoJ) in a released statement. Law enforcement authorities executed a search warrant at Wang’s residence in Mountain View, California, where they uncovered substantial quantities of data taken from Apple prior to his departure.
The indictment outlines six categories of trade secrets that Wang allegedly stole or attempted to steal, with each category corresponding to a separate charge. Shortly after the search warrant was executed, Wang departed from San Francisco and headed to mainland China.
If convicted, Wang could face a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison, as well as fines amounting to $250,000 for each count of theft or attempted theft of trade secrets, as outlined by the DoJ.