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Apple Engineer Stole Self-Driving Vehicle Tech for Chinese Company


The DOJ announced on Tuesday that Apple software engineer Weibao Wang has been indicted on charges of stealing crucial autonomous technology from the tech giant for a Chinese self-driving car company.

CNBC reports that on Tuesday, the DOJ announced that former Apple software engineer Weibao Wang had been indicted on suspicion of stealing vital autonomous technology from the tech giant for a Chinese self-driving car company.

Apple CEO Tim Cook waves as he arrives for the Economic Summit held for the China Development Forum in Beijing on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Ng Han Guan / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read NG HAN GUAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Wang worked as a software engineer for Apple’s Annotation Team from 2016 to 2018. Due to his position, he had extensive access to certain databases that, as the DOJ indictment noted, only 2,700 of Apple’s 135,000 employees could access.

The indictment names Wang on six separate counts of stealing or attempting to steal confidential information from Apple. These accusations include the alleged theft of all of Apple’s autonomy source code, tracking tools, plans for the behavior of autonomous systems, and details of the systems’ hardware.

The DOJ claims that Wang started siphoning off “large amounts” of confidential commercial technology and source code four months before he left Apple to accept a position at the American branch of an unnamed Chinese company that was developing autonomous driving technology.

The indictment further stated that in April 2017, only 5,000 of Apple’s 135,000 full-time employees had been informed about the project, or around four percent of the company. An even smaller segment, around two percent, had access to one or more of the databases Wang accessed.

On June 27, 2018, law enforcement searched Wang’s California home and allegedly discovered a sizable amount of stolen, secretive, and proprietary data there. Wang fled to China despite saying he wouldn’t leave the country.

At a press conference, Ismail Ramsey, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, stated that Wang is currently in China and, if extradited and found guilty, could spend up to 10 years in prison for each count.

Wang was charged after Xiaolang Zhang and Jizhong Chen, two other former Apple employees, were accused of similar thefts. Both were accused of stealing trade secrets and making plans to elude capture in China. Chen’s case is still pending, whereas Zhang has entered a guilty plea.

Read more at CNBC here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan

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