Former Apple engineer charged with stealing autonomous driving tech

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The U.S. Department of Justice has charged a former Apple software engineer with allegedly stealing autonomous driving technology for at least four months before his resignation from the company. According to the indictment, 35-year old Weibao Wang shared information on Apple’s autonomous technology to an unknown Chinese company.

Wang had worked for Apple’s annotation team since 2016, where he was given “broad access” to company databases that only 2,700 of Apple’s 135,000 employees had access to, according to a report from Gizmodo.

A subsequent investigation found that Wang signed an acceptance letter for a full-time staff engineer position at a Chinese-based company four months before leaving Apple. However it wasn’t until one month after his resignation that Apple found Wang had accessed databases containing sensitive and confidential information related to their autonomous systems’ software. A search of Wang’s home uncovered several personal devices containing large quantities of data taken from Apple prior to his departure.

Wang has since fled to China, even though he assured authorities  during the search of his home he would not leave the country. Later that day Wang purchased a one-way ticket to China.

Wang is one of three former Apple employees who have been charged with stealing autonomous trade data and sharing it with China. Xiaolang Zhang admitted guilt last year as part of a plea agreement for stealing trade secrets from Apple’s car division. Jizhong Chen, another ex-employee, is facing federal charges for allegedly stealing and transmitting sensitive information to China.

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