A former Apple software engineer named Weibao Wang has been charged with allegedly stealing Apple’s autonomous technology for a Chinese self-driving car company. Wang worked as a software engineer at Apple from 2016 to 2018 and was granted “broad access” to databases which the Justice Department said could only be accessed by 2,700 of Apple’s 135,000 employees.
Wang has been charged with six separate counts involving the theft or attempted theft of Apple’s “entire autonomy source code,” tracking systems, behavior planning for autonomous systems, and descriptions of the hardware that was behind the systems. According to the indictment, Wang accepted a job at the U.S.-based subsidiary of an unnamed Chinese company which was developing autonomous driving technology and began to siphon “large amounts” of sensitive commercial technology and source code.
Law enforcement executed a search of Wang’s home in California on Jun. 27, 2018, where they found large quantities of stolen, confidential, and proprietary data. Despite promising that he wouldn’t flee the country, Wang boarded a flight to Guangzhou, China from San Francisco International Airport shortly after the search.
The charges against Wang were announced as part of a sweeping enforcement action led by the Disruptive Technology Strike Force. Four other cases were unveiled across the United States, involving criminal behavior to supply Iranian forces with sensitive ballistic technology, Russian intelligence and research units with quantum technology, and sanctions-violating exports.
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