US authorities have charged a former Apple employee with theft of company secrets. Authorities allege that the person took secrets from Apple’s self driving car project and later tried to leave the country.
The complaint filed against the former employee, Xiaolang Zhang, mentions that he had intentions to work for a Chinese company behind self driving technology. Mr. Zhang took some information from the company on the project and booked a flight to China. Mr. Zhang was detained on July 7 at San Jose International Airport.
Autonomous Vehicle Project
He was accused of downloading files containing the information as he was getting ready to leave the country. The complaint mentions that he was planning to leave the tech giant for Xiaopeng Motors.
Mr. Zhang was working as a hardware engineer for the tech giant. He was part of the company’s autonomous vehicle development project. Mr. Zhang had access to important information on the technology.
Suspicious Activity After Decision
The complaint mentions that Mr. Zhang took a paternity leave and told the company in April that he was moving back to China to work for the other company. Apple noticed his suspicious activity after he notified them of his decision to move to China. The tech giant saw an increased network activity and more visits to the office. He admitted to the FBI that he downloaded files on the project to his wife’s laptop. He did this to have continued access to the information, according to the complaint. Mr. Zhang was detained after passing through the security checkpoint at the airport.
Companies Are Very Secretive
Apple is said to be working on the technology, just like many other companies around the world, but the tech giant has been very quiet on the plans. Recent reports have revealed that the tech company has nearly doubled the number of self-driving cars in its California fleet.