Former Apple engineer faces up to 10 years in jail, $250,000 fine over the theft of autonomous vehicle secrets

“A former Apple engineer stole secrets about the company’s self-driving car project,” David Meyer reports for Fortune. “Xiaolang Zhang was arrested at a San Jose airport on Saturday, and he now faces a decade behind bars and a $250,000 fine if convicted.”

“Zhang, who left his position as an Apple hardware engineer in May, was about to fly to China to go work for a new employer, Xiaopeng Motors or XMotors, which is making connected, electric cars. According to prosecutors, Zhang admitted downloading files relating to Apple’s Project Titan scheme,” Meyer reports. “Zhang apparently took paternity leave in April. When he returned, the engineer told Apple that he would be moving to China to work for XMotors, which also has a Mountain View office, and to be with his sick mother.”

“Apple’s security team reviewed Zhang’s work devices when he turned them in, and found a lot more download activity and confidential information than should have been on there,” Meyer reports. “Security footage showed the engineer had returned to Apple’s offices during his paternity leave and taken things from the labs.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: That $250,000 are relative peanuts, but those 10 years! They’d hurt if so sentenced.

Criminal case reveals details of Apple’s self-driving car technology – July 11, 2018
China’s XMotors claims employee did not pass along Apple autonomous driving trade secrets – July 11, 2018
Former Apple employee charged with criminal theft of autonomous vehicle secrets – July 10, 2018


  1. … you can do a lot worse crimes than that and not get ten years. Just punish him the way the Chinese authorities would do: harvest his organs until there’s nothing left.

    Seriously though, I’d say five years served and five probation, along with the monetary fine would be plenty.

  2. This guy, not vert smart. Maybe SMRT but not smart?

    How alone would think they could get away with that.

    As someone on another site said, if you’re going to do that, then you walk out the door onto a plane and never return, but no, he stayed.

  3. I think you have to understand that this is business as usual for China… stolen intellectual property, corporate espionage, and so on. It’s not simply never-ending unfair trade practices that are the issue. China will secure U.S. technology by any means necessary.

    And we’ve done nothing about it. For decades now. It doesn’t matter. Democrat or Republican, everyone is afraid of pissing China off.

    Until now…

  4. Drumpf will pardon him. He loves the totalitarian regimes. Why the heck would he bail out the duplicitous ZTE spy operations? He owns them millions, perhaps billions. And they own the orange-a-tan 50/50 with his top Vlad.

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