Apple's self-driving 'Project Titan' car technology allegedly stolen by second employee, s...

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 30
Following up on an internal Apple investigation, the FBI has arrested a second person accused of trying to steal secrets related to the company's self-driving car platform.

Apple test vehicle


Apple management first took notice when a worker spotted the suspect, a Chinese national named Jizhong Chen, taking photos in a secret work area, according to an unsealed criminal complaint seen by NBC Bay Area. Chen was an engineer with the company.

Apple's Global Security team then searched Chen's computer, discovering manuals, diagrams, and schematics, as well as about a hundred photos shot inside Apple offices. One photo handed to the FBI depicted an assembly drawing of an Apple-designed wiring harness.

The motive quickly became apparent, as Chen recently applied for a job at an unspecified Chinese self-driving technology company. In fact Chen was arrested just one day before he was scheduled to fly back to China, which would've put him out of reach.

"Apple takes confidentiality and the protection of our IP very seriously," a spokesperson said on Tuesday. "We are working with authorities on this matter and are referring all questions to the FBI," the person added, but the FBI has so far declined to comment.

In July 2018 another former Apple worker, Xiaolang Zhang, was arrested on suspicion of stealing secrets to hand over to China's XMotors. That firm has U.S. offices in Mountain View, not far from Apple Park.

The exact nature of Apple's self-driving program remains a mystery. The company was originally working on a full-fledged electric car, but then scaled back to platform development and testing modified existing vehicles on California roads. More recently rumors of a self-designed car have revived, even as over 200 workers were shed from the "Project Titan" team.
patchythepirate
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,425member
    Project Titanic.
  • Reply 2 of 44
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,961member
    Tim Cook bends over backwards to try to grow business in China and this what they do to him.  Can you stay stabbed in the back
    edited January 30 patchythepiratetmaySpamSandwichksecpulseimagespotatoleeksoupbattiato1981magman1979lolliverchristopher126
  • Reply 3 of 44
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,931member
    "The exact nature of Apple's self-driving program remains a mystery."

    I'd guess it isn't a mystery to the Chinese. Besides, saying they caught two doesn't mean there were only two. They were just the unlucky/bad spies.
    edited January 30 bonobobronntmayracerhomie3anantksundarammuthuk_vanalingamSpamSandwichfotoformatbattiato1981christopher126
  • Reply 4 of 44
    You go where the growth is or you contract. They have been ripped off by American and Korean companies alike. From Microsoft to Google then Samsung. These were all partners that they helped in their growth, that chose to use what they learned against them. The list continues, so they know it can come from anywhere. I think the former companies are far more hurtful than a spy from a competitor. 
    AppleExposedbattiato1981berndogwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 44
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,407unconfirmed, member
    Everyone in forums are saying Apple needs to stick to what they know (phones) and cannot innovate the car industry.

    So I have no idea what these spy's want.

    /s
    Solitmayracerhomie3berndoglolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 44
    mobirdmobird Posts: 226member
    This isn't just a Apple problem, this is a USA problem...
    6502ben20flyingdpanantksundaramLordeHawkchristopher126leftoverbaconwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 44
    I guess a certain company needs to learn about a thing called a background check, especially when assigning personnel to sensitive projects.
  • Reply 8 of 44
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,208member
    mobird said:
    This isn't just a Apple problem, this is a USA problem…
    Is there an innovative corporation in any country that won't have its fair share of industrial espionage to contend with?
    muthuk_vanalingamdaven
  • Reply 9 of 44
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,162member
    mobird said:
    This isn't just a Apple problem, this is a USA problem...
    This is a huge problem in the western world. The Chinese are stealing from companies and universities. The only solution is to stop giving visas to Chinese nationals but that will unlikely never happen. 
    6502ben20flyingdpSpamSandwichmagman1979christopher126leftoverbacon1983watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 44
    FatmanFatman Posts: 309member
    When you hire scorpions, you get stung, This is the nature of the Chinese.The Western world has trouble understanding this mentality. China is a communist, religionless nation. Stealing is not a sin. Stealing is acceptable and encouraged. Those that bring back stolen technology to advance the Chinese nation are heros. So hire away all the Chinese nationals you want, but understand it's not 'if' you will get robbed by them, but 'when' you will get robbed by them.
    gutengelflyingdpmac_dogravnorodommagman1979berndogchristopher1261983watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 44
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,964member
    mobird said:
    This isn't just a Apple problem, this is a USA problem...
    This is a huge problem in the western world. The Chinese are stealing from companies and universities. The only solution is to stop giving visas to Chinese nationals but that will unlikely never happen. 
    Yeh, yeh, yeh....   That's what we said 40 years ago when the Japanese were supposedly copying our stuff and selling it back to us.   It turned out, they were just better than us.

    Today there was an article about former American intelligence agents pulling in $200-$400K salaries for spying on America for the UAE using American spy techinques.

    But, yeh, let's blame the Chinese!  It's the politically correct thing to do.   It distracts from Russia
    muthuk_vanalingamberndogRayz20161983
  • Reply 12 of 44
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,620member
    There are reasons why the mainland Chinese do this shit more frequently than other people, but somebody will jump and label you 'racist' as soon as you talk about it.  In reality, it's not a matter of race but culture. And it's not the culture of all Chinese, just that of the totalitarian mainland.
    ben20mac_doglolliver1983
  • Reply 13 of 44
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,162member
    mobird said:
    This isn't just a Apple problem, this is a USA problem...
    This is a huge problem in the western world. The Chinese are stealing from companies and universities. The only solution is to stop giving visas to Chinese nationals but that will unlikely never happen. 
    Yeh, yeh, yeh....   That's what we said 40 years ago when the Japanese were supposedly copying our stuff and selling it back to us.   It turned out, they were just better than us.

    Today there was an article about former American intelligence agents pulling in $200-$400K salaries for spying on America for the UAE using American spy techinques.

    But, yeh, let's blame the Chinese!  It's the politically correct thing to do.   It distracts from Russia
    Those examples are completely irrelevant to what the Chinese are doing. Do you really think China would be where they are today without stealing all this technology? It's happening all over the place. Chinese nationals getting caught stealing from companies and universities. It's a huge problem. Not sure what Russia has to do with any of this. Maybe you should read some of these articles:

    https://www.newsweek.com/china-military-sends-undercover-students-american-universities-steal-1197652

    https://www.foxnews.com/science/chinese-stealing-biomedical-research-from-u-s-labs-and-universities

    https://www.wral.com/student-accused-of-stealing-research-from-duke-professor-under-chinese-government-order/17722099/


    flyingdpanantksundarammagman1979lolliverchristopher126
  • Reply 14 of 44
    Why do they keep hiring Chinese people?
    magman1979christopher1261983
  • Reply 15 of 44
    Well. This is side effect of globalization. Nobody said industrial espionage is gonna go away. Some may need to understand fundamentals and stop making them into politics.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 16 of 44

    Apple's Global Security team then searched Chen's computer, discovering manuals, diagrams, and schematics, as well as about a hundred photos shot inside Apple offices. One photo handed to the FBI depicted an assembly drawing of an Apple-designed wiring harness.
    The positive takeaway is...Apple-designed wiring harness.
    king editor the gratelolliver
  • Reply 17 of 44
    Soli said:
    mobird said:
    This isn't just a Apple problem, this is a USA problem…
    Is there an innovative corporation in any country that won't have its fair share of industrial espionage to contend with?
    The extent of genuine innovation -- I don't mean just patent filings, which are dime-a-dozen -- coming out of the US far outnumbers that of any other nation. More importantly, so many business models in tech, where the predominant asset is intellectual property, spring from the US. So yes, this is qualitatively a USA problem.

    Moreover, the sheer economic scale of China, and it stated ambitions (e.g., their 2025 Plan) take this problem to a new level.
  • Reply 18 of 44

    It turned out, they were just better than us.
    Really? In tech (including software skills, social media, e-commerce, and services), where the problem really lies? Who are some of the great Japanese competitors who are "...better than us" compared to, say, Apple, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Netflix, AMD, Amazon, and Microsoft?

    I'll wait.
    buzdots
  • Reply 19 of 44
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,509member
    gutengel said:
    Why do they keep hiring Chinese people?

    This is a bad time for Chinese-Western relations, but to not hire because of race would be unethical. Not all Chinese people are bad. Some are very thankful for the opportunities offered to them here in the Western world.

    anantksundaramlolliver
  • Reply 20 of 44
    mobird said:
    This isn't just a Apple problem, this is a USA problem...
    This is a huge problem in the western world. The Chinese are stealing from companies and universities. The only solution is to stop giving visas to Chinese nationals but that will unlikely never happen. 
    That would be a good next move for the US. Cut the spies and thieves off at the knees.
    buzdots1983
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