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Third Apple store employee accused of stealing ‘Apple Car’ trade secrets

A third Apple store employee was apparently driven to steal self-driving car technology, according to CNBC.

Weibao Wang was charged with six counts of theft or attempted theft by prosecutors, who allege he stole troves of source code on Apple’s autonomous technology for an unnamed Chinese company. CNBC said he Feld the U.S. the same day his home was searched by law enforcement.

Wang worked as a software engineer at Apple from 2016 to 2018, a DOJ indictment said. He worked on Apple’s Annotation Team 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.

Two other Apple employees, Xiaolang Zhang and Jizhong Chen, have also been accused of pilfering “Apple Car” tech. Zhang, a former Apple employee who was accused of stealing computer files with trade secrets about Apple’s secretive car division, pled guilty in federal court in August 2022.

In July 2018 the FBI accused him with theft of trade secrets, according to documents filed with the Northern District Court of California. According to a tweet from Oakland-based crime reporter Henry K. Lee, Zhang took secret documents from Apple while on paternity leave, telling authorities that he had placed the data on his wife’s laptop. 

Zhang was charged with theft of trade secrets in the U.S. District Court for Northern California. The trade secrets involved Apple’s autonomous vehicle research; apparently, Zhang planned to give them to his new employers, the China-based XMotors.

Chen was accused of attempting to steal Apple trade secrets in January 2019. Apple began investigating him when another employee reported seeing the engineer taking photographs in a sensitive work space, according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed this week. 

Chen reportedly allowed Apple Global Security employees to search his personal computer, where they found thousands of files containing Apple’s intellectual property, including manuals, schematics, and diagrams. Chen’s case is proceeding in California federal court.

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today
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