Ex-Apple engineer accused of stealing self-driving car trade secrets

The United States Justice Department has charged an ex-Apple engineer, Weibao Wang, with allegedly attempting to steal the company's technology related to autonomous systems, including self-driving cars, before fleeing to China. The case was among five announced on Tuesday aimed at countering the efforts of foreign countries including Russia and China from illicitly acquiring American technology. Wang was hired by Apple in 2016 and in 2017 accepted a job with a Chinese company working to develop self-driving cars. After resigning from Apple, Wang waited about four months before informing the company of his new job. Federal agents searched Wang's home in June 2018 and, according to the Justice Department, found "large quantities" of data from Apple. Wang was charged with attempting to steal, or stealing, six categories of trade secrets, each of which carry a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 US. Since leaving the US, Wang has been identified in media reports as the head of automated driving at Jidu, an EV venture controlled by Baidu and co-funded by Chinese automaker Geely. Apple declined to comment on the case. Two of the cases announced on Tuesday involved dismantling alleged procurement networks created to help the Russian military and intelligence services obtain sensitive technology. Two cases were tied to former software engineers allegedly stealing source code from US technology companies to market it to Chinese competitors. The fifth case involved a Chinese network created to provide Iran with materials used in weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.


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