Another Former Apple Employee Charged With Stealing Car Secrets for China

Former Apple employee Weibao Wang was today officially charged with theft of trade secrets for stealing critical Apple Car information and relaying it to China, reports CNBC. In an indictment [PDF] shared by the United States Department of Justice, Wang has been charged with six counts of trade secret theft for secretly accessing Apple Car data between 2016 and 2018.

Apple car wheel icon feature blue
Wang was on the Annotation Team during his time at Apple, working on algorithms to accelerate the process of annotating real-world objects. Because of his role, he was granted "broad access" to databases that included information for the project. The information that he had access to was limited to just a few thousand of Apple's more than 135,000 full time employees.

Wang signed confidentiality and Intellectual Property Agreements before being granted access to Apple's databases, plus he attended secrecy training that covered the consequences of stealing data. Nevertheless, in 2016, he downloaded Apple's "entire autonomy source code," and stole additional autonomous systems and hardware information shortly before resigning from his position at Apple in 2018.

When he resigned, Wang did not tell Apple where he planned to go, but it turned out he had accepted a position at the U.S. subsidiary of a Chinese company developing autonomous driving technology. Apple in May 2018 reviewed data access logs and found that Wang accessed sensitive details right before he left, which is when the company involved the Department of Justice.

In June, the DoJ searched Wang's residence, at which point he purchased a one-way plane ticket from San Francisco, California to Guangzhou, China. After he made it to China, the extent of the theft was uncovered. There is a warrant for Wang's arrest, and if extradited and convicted, he will face up to 60 years in prison.

Wang is one of three Apple employees accused of attempting to steal Apple Car information for China. Last year, former Apple employee Xiaolang Zhang pled guilty to theft of trade secrets as part of a plea bargain. Zhang also attempted to flee the country, but he was caught. A third accused employee, Jizhong Chen, has pled not guilty.

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Top Rated Comments

ninetyCent Avatar
14 months ago
The companies are in a tough spot. It's obviously the Chinese that are stealing the tech but it's hard to openly profile us without risk of discrimination lawsuits. I just read about this Chinese lady who stole soda can liner tech and it was funded by a Chinese gov fund. I'm Chinese as well and it's terrible for people like us who are trying to do the most for the companies we work without being somewhat profiled.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
14 months ago
Wow the news stories are fast and furious today!
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
7149041 Avatar
14 months ago

Is there anything to steal from the apple car division? ??‍♂️
Just because they haven't released the product doesn't mean they don't sit on millions/billions of $ in R&D. It's their property.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Dee Avatar
14 months ago
I think for Apple's sake, maybe not hire persons who swear allegiance to another country even if their skill is an asset. Their loyalty is not to Apple, but their country and you can't really blame them either.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
currocj Avatar
14 months ago
Is stealing vaporware really stealing? -employee asks self
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
East India Company Avatar
14 months ago
Is there anything to steal from the apple car division? ??‍♂️
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)