The US has sued a former Apple employee for stealing “the entire source code” of Apple’s self-driving car technology. He then allegedly passed that information on to a Chinese start-up.
The engineer is said to have accepted a job at a Chinese start-up working on the development of self-driving cars in 2017, while also still working at Apple. He would have “broad access” to ” the entire automation source code.” When he started working at the start-up, he collected “large amounts of sensitive technology and source code” from Apple and passed it on, the US Department of justice said, according to CNBC.
In 2018, a search warrant was already executed on the man, during which a lot of “stolen, confidential and proprietary” data was found. The former employee promised not to flee the country, but then did. He left for China, which delayed the persecution.
According to CNBC, he is being charged with six different crimes, including ” the theft or attempted theft of Apple’s entire automation source code, tracking systems, behaviour planning for autonomous systems, and descriptions of the underlying hardware.” For each charge, he faces ten years in prison, provided he is extradited and convicted.
Apple also has two other cases pending against former employees who allegedly stole secrets from Project Titan, the company’s self-driving car division, around the same time. Both also attempted to flee the country, but were arrested prematurely. Another former employee stole trade secrets in 2018 and passed them on to the media. A settlement was reached with him last year.