Tesla requests iCloud data for engineer who allegedly stole Autopilot secrets

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in iCloud
Tesla has subpoenaed Apple for access to the iCloud data of an engineer who allegedly stole thousands of Autopilot source code files right before leaving to work at XMotors.ai, the U.S. research branch of China's Xpeng.

Tesla Model 3 Autopilot


The ex-Tesla engineer, Guangzhi Cao, has already acknowledged uploading copies of Autopilot source code to his personal iCloud account, Bloomberg said in a report this week. He nevertheless claims to have done nothing wrong, saying he didn't make use of the data and has tried to scrub it from his personal devices. Cao and his lawyers have even offered to provide forensic copies of devices Tesla wants to inspect.

Apple is likely to comply with the subpoena as long as it meets legal standards. July 2018 saw prosecutors charge an engineer from Apple's self-driving program, Project Titan, with stealing trade secrets in advance of joining Xpeng. The case is still ongoing as the engineer has pleaded not guilty.

Autopilot is Tesla's branding for the self-driving systems in cars like the Model 3 and Model S. The company's AI has yet to achieve full independence, but can already park, navigate highways and change lanes with little human help.

Apple's self-driving plans remain nebulous. The company has been performing road tests and recently bought out self-driving car startup Drive.ai, but details on product integration remain scarce. A finished vehicle could hit roads in 2023 or later, or not at all.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,381unconfirmed, member
    China stealing US. tech?

    SHOCKED! /s
    Ecky-Thumpcornchipcat52JFC_PAwilliamlondonolsStrangeDaysanton zuykov
  • Reply 2 of 22
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,675member
    So it's another typical, IP-stealing day for China and it's government-assisted spy-cells?

    Law-abiding Chinese citizens should be embarrassed at how their country is run.
    AppleExposedcat52williamlondonolsStrangeDayslkrupp
  • Reply 3 of 22
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,504member
    So that's two head-hunted engineers taking data from their former employer to benefit their role at Xpeng. Can't ignore the growing pattern here. This shines a dark light on Xpeng, as it's likely they have a role in this behaviour, possibly coercion. All speculation, but patterns can't be ignored.
    cat52williamlondonStrangeDays
  • Reply 4 of 22
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,186member
    What's the term for this kind of bigotry? Scapegoating? Don't you all make comments on this forum about Google, Amazon, and other non-Chinese people or owned companies breaking the law without making sweeping claims about nationalities? Should we claim that all Americans are thieves because of them? Should we say that America is inherently skullduggerous because VirnetX won yet another lawsuit against American company Apple? I don't recall anyone making any suggestion remotely of that nature on that thread.
    edited July 12 ronnmikethemartiansully54muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 22
    danoxdanox Posts: 387member
    Soli said:
    What's the term for this kind of bigotry? Scapegoating? Don't you all make comments on this forum about Google, Amazon, and other non-Chinese people or owned companies breaking the law without making sweeping claims about nationalities? Should we claim that all Americans are thieves because of them? Should we say that America is inherently skullduggerous because VirnetX won yet another lawsuit against American company Apple? I don't recall anyone making any suggestion remotely of that nature on that thread.
    A Chinese, Russian, or Israeli person with family (ties) can't say no, if you hire them you will pay.....
  • Reply 6 of 22
    chaickachaicka Posts: 134member
    It’s nothing new. And it’s not just US tech firms who is being targeted.

    Here is what’s been happening to many industries which firms from China are keen to make leapfrog advancements on:
    1. Using high remuneration packages to attract key engineers to join them;
    2. Tapping into the knowledge of these engineers for a short time frame (1-2 years) while transferring those knowledge to their own engineers.

    The above has happened to semiconductors industry for years and that’s how they leapfrogged into competitiveness against existing tech giants. 
    cat52
  • Reply 7 of 22
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,381unconfirmed, member
    Soli said:
    What's the term for this kind of bigotry? Scapegoating? Don't you all make comments on this forum about Google, Amazon, and other non-Chinese people or owned companies breaking the law without making sweeping claims about nationalities? Should we claim that all Americans are thieves because of them? Should we say that America is inherently skullduggerous because VirnetX won yet another lawsuit against American company Apple? I don't recall anyone making any suggestion remotely of that nature on that thread.
    VirnetX is a patent troll but...

    Google/Amazon are worse than these Chinese companies. That doesn't mean these Chinese scumbags aren't also scumbags.
    cornchipcat52StrangeDaysleftoverbacon
  • Reply 8 of 22
    kimberlykimberly Posts: 237member
    Soli said:
    What's the term for this kind of bigotry? Scapegoating? Don't you all make comments on this forum about Google, Amazon, and other non-Chinese people or owned companies breaking the law without making sweeping claims about nationalities? Should we claim that all Americans are thieves because of them? Should we say that America is inherently skullduggerous because VirnetX won yet another lawsuit against American company Apple? I don't recall anyone making any suggestion remotely of that nature on that thread.
    Hey @Soli .. I think it is called stereotyping. Stereotypes are assumptions based on unfounded ideas about groups, not identifying particular characteristics of a group of people. They signify a gap or lack in understanding. We typically stereotype those whom we do not understand or about whom we have no knowledge. Ref# https://www.everydaysociologyblog.com/2012/05/understanding-generalizations-and-stereotypes.html
    Solimikethemartianmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 9 of 22
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 354member
    “Research” branch. Giggle. 
    edited July 13
  • Reply 10 of 22
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 720editor
    danox said:
    Soli said:
    What's the term for this kind of bigotry? Scapegoating? Don't you all make comments on this forum about Google, Amazon, and other non-Chinese people or owned companies breaking the law without making sweeping claims about nationalities? Should we claim that all Americans are thieves because of them? Should we say that America is inherently skullduggerous because VirnetX won yet another lawsuit against American company Apple? I don't recall anyone making any suggestion remotely of that nature on that thread.
    A Chinese, Russian, or Israeli person with family (ties) can't say no, if you hire them you will pay.....
    Xenophobia - intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.

    It also misunderstands the impact of culture - Americans expect all countries to adhere to the current understanding of intellectual property ownership. This appears to be wrong if we look at the history of the world: in recent terms, many English speaking countries have different limits on copyright time period (public domain) and what rights non-owners have (fair use), what's OK in England or Australia would not be OK in America, for example. On a longer timeline, compare with the native Americans who didn't always have a concept of exclusionary land ownership vs the colonists. 

    For China, 
    Shenzhen manufacturers see hardware and product design as something that can be borrowed freely and altered. Success in business comes down to speed and execution, not originality.  Re-iterating or copying is part of the culture, and seen as an opportunity for improvement on the original, not theft. The best way to avoid copying is to make the costs or production too high, through expensive machines required to produce, expensive materials, or binary software running on boutique hardware. And even then, it's not perfect.


  • Reply 11 of 22
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,271member
    Soli said:
    What's the term for this kind of bigotry? Scapegoating? Don't you all make comments on this forum about Google, Amazon, and other non-Chinese people or owned companies breaking the law without making sweeping claims about nationalities? Should we claim that all Americans are thieves because of them? Should we say that America is inherently skullduggerous because VirnetX won yet another lawsuit against American company Apple? I don't recall anyone making any suggestion remotely of that nature on that thread.
    China has a unique deep culture of IP theft, ripoffs, and counterfeits (aka knockoffs). This is simply a fact. It’s why it’s taken decades to get them to kind of enforce IP law. 

    I traveled China as part of my studies during university two decades ago, it was everywhere and an open secret. Whether that’s immoral is a different discussion. Perhaps it flourishes there due to poverty, it’s hard to respect western IP law when entire populations would never be able to afford name brands. Perhaps it’s also culture, part of Chinese art is based on imitating masters. 
    edited July 13 AppleExposedRayz2016
  • Reply 12 of 22
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,060member
    Soli said:
    What's the term for this kind of bigotry? Scapegoating? Don't you all make comments on this forum about Google, Amazon, and other non-Chinese people or owned companies breaking the law without making sweeping claims about nationalities? Should we claim that all Americans are thieves because of them? Should we say that America is inherently skullduggerous because VirnetX won yet another lawsuit against American company Apple? I don't recall anyone making any suggestion remotely of that nature on that thread.
    China has a unique deep culture of IP theft, ripoffs, and counterfeits (aka knockoffs). This is simply a fact. It’s why it’s taken decades to get them to kind of enforce IP law. 

    I traveled China as part of my studies during university two decades ago, it was everywhere and an open secret. Whether that’s immoral is a different discussion. Perhaps it’s flourishes there due to poverty, it’s hard to respect western IP law when entire populations would never be able to afford the name brands. 
    There is another side to your coin, of course.

    https://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2019/article_0004.html

    A lot can change in two decades as this rumour might highlight:

    https://www.yicaiglobal.com/news/apple-to-pay-hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars-in-patent-royalties-to-huawei-every-year



    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 22
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,162member
    Yeah, it should all be open and free! Damn Bill Gates for writing that letter. /s
  • Reply 14 of 22
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 728member
    vmarks said:
    danox said:
    Soli said:
    What's the term for this kind of bigotry? Scapegoating? Don't you all make comments on this forum about Google, Amazon, and other non-Chinese people or owned companies breaking the law without making sweeping claims about nationalities? Should we claim that all Americans are thieves because of them? Should we say that America is inherently skullduggerous because VirnetX won yet another lawsuit against American company Apple? I don't recall anyone making any suggestion remotely of that nature on that thread.
    A Chinese, Russian, or Israeli person with family (ties) can't say no, if you hire them you will pay.....

    For China, Shenzhen manufacturers see hardware and product design as something that can be borrowed freely and altered. Success in business comes down to speed and execution, not originality.  Re-iterating or copying is part of the culture, and seen as an opportunity for improvement on the original, not theft. The best way to avoid copying is to make the costs or production too high, through expensive machines required to produce, expensive materials, or binary software running on boutique hardware. And even then, it's not perfect.


    Wow! So downloading something that you’re not supposed to download, for your financial gain and without permission, to give it to someone else who will benefit from it, is not stealing. It’s just a cultural misunderstanding. Wow! Wow! Wow!

    With this kind of thinking you deserved it I guess.

    I have lived in many third world countries and almost everywhere people under age 10 knows what stealing is. Everywhere but here it seems. 
    edited July 13 AppleExposed
  • Reply 15 of 22
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,143member
    vmarks said:
    danox said:
    Soli said:
    What's the term for this kind of bigotry? Scapegoating? Don't you all make comments on this forum about Google, Amazon, and other non-Chinese people or owned companies breaking the law without making sweeping claims about nationalities? Should we claim that all Americans are thieves because of them? Should we say that America is inherently skullduggerous because VirnetX won yet another lawsuit against American company Apple? I don't recall anyone making any suggestion remotely of that nature on that thread.
    A Chinese, Russian, or Israeli person with family (ties) can't say no, if you hire them you will pay.....
    ... The best way to avoid copying is to make the costs or production too high, through expensive machines required to produce, expensive materials, or binary software running on boutique hardware. And even then, it's not perfect. ...


    This part of your comment absolutely makes no sense,complex and expensive products is what leads to technology theft and cloning.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    I find it ironic that in grade school I was taught that Samuel Slater who stole British textile technology and brought it to the US was a hero and considered the Father of the American Industrial Revolution by President Andrew Jackson while in Britain he was known as Slater the Traitor.
  • Reply 17 of 22
    MacQcMacQc Posts: 6member
    That's how technological progress has (often) been historically made: by stealing. Nothing new. Nothing to be shocked. It will helps autopilot driving becoming mainstream.
    sully54
  • Reply 18 of 22
    riverkoriverko Posts: 70member
    if Tesla doesn’t want their employees to steel the data, shouldn’t they have done some measurements first? Like not allowing to use private E-Mails, cloud drives etc? Same as eg banks do to prevent data leaks? 
  • Reply 19 of 22
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,687member
    China has long been engaged in espionage and stealing of trade secrets.

    All Chinese nationals employed by American companies should obviously be placed under increased scrutiny to ensure that they are not spies working for their motherland.
    AppleExposed
  • Reply 20 of 22
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,722member
    apple ][ said:
    China has long been engaged in espionage and stealing of trade secrets.

    All Chinese nationals employed by American companies should obviously be placed under increased scrutiny to ensure that they are not spies working for their motherland.
    Next stop: internment. 

    🤦🏾‍♂️
    edited July 14 Soli
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