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An Apple Engineer Stole Important Data from Apple

An Apple Engineer Stole Important Data from Apple
An Apple Engineer Stole Important Data from Apple
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Xiaolang Zhang was found guilty of stealing trade secrets from Apple, where he worked on a car project involving autonomous driving technology from 2015 to 2018 . When he left his job at Apple, he said he would work for Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors Technology, a Chinese EV brand also known as Xpeng .

During an investigation, Apple determined that the employee in question transferred about 24GB of “extremely troublesome” data to his wife’s laptop via AirDrop , and also received circuit boards and a server from the company’s autonomous car lab.

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The terms of Zhang’s plea deal are not publicly available, but according to a court document shared by CNBC, Zhang was found guilty for a single theft of trade secrets listed in the indictment. A conference is scheduled for November 14 to determine his sentence . Under US law, theft of trade secrets carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, and CNBC reports that Zhang could face fines of up to a quarter of a million dollars .

An Apple Engineer Stole Important Data from Apple

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Apple Hasn’t Introduced Any Autonomous Driving Cars Yet

Xialong Zhang isn’t the only one accused of stealing automotive trade secrets from Apple or trying to pass confidential material to Xiaopeng . In 2019, another former Apple employee was accused of trying to smuggle manuals, schematics, diagrams and photos from Apple’s automobile project to China. His case is still pending, according to CNBC .

That same year, Tesla claimed that a former employee had uploaded the source code for the Autopilot system to his iCloud account and then took that information to Xiaopeng. At the time, the company told The Verge it “respects the intellectual property and confidential information of any third party . “

Although cases of trade secret theft date back a few years, Apple has yet to introduce a car with autonomous driving. Recent rumors say it could be announced in 2025 , but the project is estimated to be difficult for Apple.

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