Third ex-Apple engineer charged over Apple Car technology theft

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
The Department of Justice has charged a third ex-engineer over the alleged theft of self-driving car tech in 2018, after the engineer tried to hand Apple's trade secrets over to a Chinese autonomous driving tech company.

Apple's self-driving vehicle testbed
Apple's self-driving vehicle testbed


Announced on Tuesday, the DoJ revealed it had filed charges at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco against Weibao Wang on April 11, 2023. Wang stands accused of the theft and the attempt at taking Apple's "entire autonomy source code," tracking systems, behavior planning systems, and system hardware descriptions.

Wang was employed by Apple for one year before he accepted a role for a U.S. subsidiary of an unnamed Chinese autonomous driving technology company. For four months before he eventually quit Apple, he allegedly siphoned off "large amounts" of sensitive technology and source code, the indictment posted by CNBC alleges.

The man was a software engineer who worked on an Annotation Team that had "broad access" to databases accessible by only 2,700 of Apple's 135,000 employees, the DoJ claims.

In a search of Wang's home on June 27, 2018, the DoJ found vast amounts of confidential and proprietary data from Apple, states the indictment.

Despite the abundance of evidence and the search, Wang was still able to leave the country, after promising he wouldn't. Wang left on a flight to Guangzhou, China, making prosecution difficult.

Ismail Ramsey, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, said that Wang was still in China, and he would face ten years in prison for each count, if he is extradited and convicted.

The charges mean that Wang is the third person to face charges over Apple Car project technology.

Xiaolang Zhang had downloaded a 25-page schematic of a circuit board for use in an autonomous vehicle in 2018, but he was arrested before he boarded a flight to Beijing. By 2022, former "Project Titan" team member Zhang had pleaded guilty in federal court.

In 2019, Chinese national Jizhong Chen was arrested by the FBI over accusations they were trying to steal secrets relating to the self-driving platform. In that instance, Chen was arrested one day before he was scheduled to fly back to China.

Apple has so far declined to comment on Wang's case.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,410member
    This is a serious crime. I cannot believe they let them fly back to china after the arrest. 


    9secondkox2watto_cobraCluntBaby92
  • Reply 2 of 28
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,568member
    What the heck?!? Apple spends the money, does the hard work, takes the time, and China gets to just rip them off? What is the US government doing to protect them? Nothing???

    the DOJ is always ready and willing to jump all over Apple for being successful (as if it were a crime), but sits on their thumbs when the pride and joy of private sector USA has their hard earned trade secrets ripped off - multiple times and then hand delivered to China so they can sell a cheaper thing since they didn’t have to pay the R&D, hardware, and staffing costs? And homeboy over here isn’t confined to the ISA in the meantime? He’s free to go and deliver the stolen goods to China (which he likely did via Snapchat or encrypted email the day he downloaded it)??

    unbelievable. 
    edited May 2023 Dooofuswatto_cobraCluntBaby92
  • Reply 3 of 28
    hekghekg Posts: 7member
    Hey American companies, how about you stop hiring Chinese employees?   

    Everything high tech that china has is all a bad copy of an American product.  Including and especially military technology which one day they soon they will use against the US!

    Stop hiring chinese people that still have any ties to china.
    DooofusradarthekatCluntBaby92williamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 28
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,455member
    If you look at the Hyundai Ionic series you'll see Apple's minimalist design language written all over it. I believe this is one of the reasons why Apple broke ties with Hyundai-Kia a couple of years ago, shameless idea theft.
    williamlondonwatto_cobraCluntBaby92
  • Reply 5 of 28

    Despite the abundance of evidence and the search, Wang was still able to leave the country, after promising he wouldn't. Wang left on a flight to Guangzhou, China, making prosecution difficult. 
    So they knew he was a criminal but decided to believe him when he "promised" he wouldn't leave? Who made that decision?
    williamlondonFileMakerFeller9secondkox2ravnorodomwatto_cobraradarthekatCluntBaby92
  • Reply 6 of 28
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,455member
    hekg said:
    Hey American companies, how about you stop hiring Chinese employees?   

    Everything high tech that china has is all a bad copy of an American product.  Including and especially military technology which one day they soon they will use against the US!

    Stop hiring chinese people that still have any ties to china.
    American companies are unable to fill their tech job vacancies with American labor alone, so they are forced to import them from India and China. Even though it is risky and expensive they have little to no choice. If you wanna point the finger at someone, you can point it at the privileged US education system, entitled mindset, and the two bickering political parties that don't seem to know how to solve for anything.
    edited May 2023 9secondkox2watto_cobrachasmradarthekatprogrammer
  • Reply 7 of 28
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,088member
    American companies need to place Chinese nationals under the most intense microscope when given jobs that grant access to U.S. tech.  If they have roots in China, they should have their passports immediately taken.  This is ridiculous.  Shame on the judge that allowed this miscreant to take the thief's word that he would not leave the country.  It's an embarrassment.

    I hope Wang knows that he is now a wanted man the moment he leaves China.  As big a China is, it will feel like a small country for the rest of his life knowing he can't travel to any country that honors warrants and U.S. extradition laws.

    What a piece of garbage.
    edited May 2023 williamlondon9secondkox2watto_cobraradarthekatCluntBaby92
  • Reply 8 of 28
    TomETomE Posts: 172member
    And the US goverment wants to sell the chinese farm land.
    williamlondon9secondkox2watto_cobraCluntBaby92
  • Reply 9 of 28
    waveparticlewaveparticle Posts: 1,497member
    Apple self-driving car tech has not been installed on any car. The theft happened in 2018. That is five years ago. These engineers probably thought to steal the code to China to implement it. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 28
    sirdirsirdir Posts: 171member
    If you look at the Hyundai Ionic series you'll see Apple's minimalist design language written all over it. I believe this is one of the reasons why Apple broke ties with Hyundai-Kia a couple of years ago, shameless idea theft.
    minimalist design? So, what would Tesla be? 
    Hyundai-Kia copying the car Apple never built?
    ctt_zh9secondkox2ravnorodomroundaboutnowmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 28
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,066member
    hekg said:
    Hey American companies, how about you stop hiring Chinese employees?   

    Everything high tech that china has is all a bad copy of an American product.  Including and especially military technology which one day they soon they will use against the US!

    Stop hiring chinese people that still have any ties to china.
    American companies are unable to fill their tech job vacancies with American labor alone, so they are forced to import them from India and China. Even though it is risky and expensive they have little to no choice. If you wanna point the finger at someone, you can point it at the privileged US education system, entitled mindset, and the two bickering political parties that don't seem to know how to solve for anything.
    And if the republicans get their way, it will be even worse. No science, no books. What else?
    edited May 2023 williamlondon9secondkox2MacProradarthekatMystakill
  • Reply 12 of 28
    mac_dog said:
    hekg said:
    Hey American companies, how about you stop hiring Chinese employees?   

    Everything high tech that china has is all a bad copy of an American product.  Including and especially military technology which one day they soon they will use against the US!

    Stop hiring chinese people that still have any ties to china.
    American companies are unable to fill their tech job vacancies with American labor alone, so they are forced to import them from India and China. Even though it is risky and expensive they have little to no choice. If you wanna point the finger at someone, you can point it at the privileged US education system, entitled mindset, and the two bickering political parties that don't seem to know how to solve for anything.
    And if the republicans get their way, it will be even worse. No science, no books. What else?
    No more teachers' dirty looks?
    bestkeptsecretradarthekatroundaboutnow
  • Reply 13 of 28
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,568member
    hekg said:
    Hey American companies, how about you stop hiring Chinese employees?   

    Everything high tech that china has is all a bad copy of an American product.  Including and especially military technology which one day they soon they will use against the US!

    Stop hiring chinese people that still have any ties to china.
    American companies are unable to fill their tech job vacancies with American labor alone, so they are forced to import them from India and China. Even though it is risky and expensive they have little to no choice. If you wanna point the finger at someone, you can point it at the privileged US education system, entitled mindset, and the two bickering political parties that don't seem to know how to solve for anything.
    That's not accurate. It's a money thing.  It's cheaper to pay non-USA wages. there are plenty of qualified Americans who would go for these jobs - that don't get the opportunity.
    ravnorodomronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 28
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,568member
    sflocal said:
    American companies need to place Chinese nationals under the most intense microscope when given jobs that grant access to U.S. tech.  If they have roots in China, they should have their passports immediately taken.  This is ridiculous.  Shame on the judge that allowed this miscreant to take the thief's word that he would not leave the country.  It's an embarrassment.

    I hope Wang knows that he is now a wanted man the moment he leaves China.  As big a China is, it will feel like a small country for the rest of his life knowing he can't travel to any country that honors warrants and U.S. extradition laws.

    What a piece of garbage.
    Good point, but difficult to do when you are an American company that has major investment in China and is endeavoring to fulfill a promised 275 billion dollar investment in the country itself. 

    ah... priorities...
    watto_cobraCluntBaby92
  • Reply 15 of 28
    ravnorodomravnorodom Posts: 689member
    It reminds me back in the old days when Soviet Union stole lots of American and European inventions and ip. Concord airplane and Manhattan Project's Atomic bomb are just to name a few.
  • Reply 16 of 28
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,228member
     It's cheaper to pay non-USA wages. there are plenty of qualified Americans who would go for these jobs - that don't get the opportunity.
    You’re not wrong, but there aren’t “plenty” of qualified Americans anymore (like there were in NASA’s golden era). The shifting of the economy and education systems to lower-skill, lower-paying jobs has severely shriveled the pool of US candidates for this high-end level of engineering.

    Meanwhile, China has invested in producing STEM-type graduates who can qualify for work in the US, and perhaps steal IP and technology from the US. Lower-wage workers are mostly for the less-skilled jobs, both in and outside the US when it comes to working for tech companies.

    programmer
  • Reply 17 of 28
    Has Apple not heard of Data Loss Prevention? Do they not have a cybersecurity team monitoring classified information exfiltration? It's preposterous that such an advanced company could allow gigabytes of IP to be stolen from their network, yes even if it is an insider actor. There are systems to prevent this.
    edited May 2023 ronnradarthekatCluntBaby92williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 28
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,455member
    hekg said:
    Hey American companies, how about you stop hiring Chinese employees?   

    Everything high tech that china has is all a bad copy of an American product.  Including and especially military technology which one day they soon they will use against the US!

    Stop hiring chinese people that still have any ties to china.
    American companies are unable to fill their tech job vacancies with American labor alone, so they are forced to import them from India and China. Even though it is risky and expensive they have little to no choice. If you wanna point the finger at someone, you can point it at the privileged US education system, entitled mindset, and the two bickering political parties that don't seem to know how to solve for anything.
    That's not accurate. It's a money thing.  It's cheaper to pay non-USA wages. there are plenty of qualified Americans who would go for these jobs - that don't get the opportunity.
    Nope, they get paid American wages because the company sponsors them. 
    programmer
  • Reply 19 of 28
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,455member
    sirdir said:
    If you look at the Hyundai Ionic series you'll see Apple's minimalist design language written all over it. I believe this is one of the reasons why Apple broke ties with Hyundai-Kia a couple of years ago, shameless idea theft.
    minimalist design? So, what would Tesla be? 
    Hyundai-Kia copying the car Apple never built?
    The Iconic is more minimalist than a Tesla, actually I wouldn’t describe Tesla’s design language as minimalist. 
    Either way when two companies explore working together, NDAs are signed, visions and design concepts are shared. I believe Hyundai shamelessly mimicked Apple’s design language from confidential documents which pissed off Apple 
    CluntBaby92
  • Reply 20 of 28
    waveparticlewaveparticle Posts: 1,497member
    hekg said:
    Hey American companies, how about you stop hiring Chinese employees?   

    Everything high tech that china has is all a bad copy of an American product.  Including and especially military technology which one day they soon they will use against the US!

    Stop hiring chinese people that still have any ties to china.
    American companies are unable to fill their tech job vacancies with American labor alone, so they are forced to import them from India and China. Even though it is risky and expensive they have little to no choice. If you wanna point the finger at someone, you can point it at the privileged US education system, entitled mindset, and the two bickering political parties that don't seem to know how to solve for anything.
    That's not accurate. It's a money thing.  It's cheaper to pay non-USA wages. there are plenty of qualified Americans who would go for these jobs - that don't get the opportunity.
    This is called the second law of capitalism, paraphrase the second law of thermodynamics. 
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