Ex-Apple engineer held over driverless car secrets theft

Ex-Apple engineer held over driverless car secrets theft

A former Apple engineer was arrested on charges of stealing driverless car secrets for a Chinese startup after he passed through the security checkpoint at San Jose International Airport in the US to board a flight to China.

Zhang Xiaolang was accused by US prosecutors of downloading files containing proprietary information as he prepared to leave the iPhone maker in April and start work for Guangzhou-based Xiaopeng Motors, according to a criminal complaint in a federal court in San Jose in California.

A hardware engineer for Apple’s autonomous vehicle development team, Mr Zhang was granted access to confidential company databases, according to the complaint. After he took paternity leave he told Apple in April he was moving back to China to work at XMotors. Apple grew more suspicious after seeing his increased network activity and visits to the office before he resigned, according to the complaint.

Mr Zhang admitted to the FBI he downloaded Apple driverless technology files to his wife’s laptop to have continued access to them, according to the complaint. He was arrested on July 7.

XMotors has always strictly abided by the laws of China and the US and takes protection of intellectual property rights seriously, Isabel Jiang, an XMotors spokeswoman, said. “There is no indication that he has ever communicated any sensitive information from Apple to XMotors,” Ms Jiang said of Mr Zhang. When notified in late June that US authorities were investigating Zhang, his computer and office equipment was secured and he was denied access to his work, she said. He was subsequently fired.

In 2015, Apple executives approved a plan to build a self-driving, electric vehicle to take on Tesla and the Detroit auto industry.

Bloomberg

More on this topic

Apple’s Tim Cook to get award from TaoiseachApple’s Tim Cook to get award from Taoiseach

Apple’s Tim Cook to meet the Taoiseach in DublinApple’s Tim Cook to meet the Taoiseach in Dublin

US lawsuit claims Apple and Microsoft profit from child cobalt minersUS lawsuit claims Apple and Microsoft profit from child cobalt miners

Irish Apple reseller Compu B buys rival UK firmIrish Apple reseller Compu B buys rival UK firm

More in this Section

Dublin Airport celebrates 80 years with reflection and expansionDublin Airport celebrates 80 years with reflection and expansion

Netflix chief confirms interest in deal with Harry and MeghanNetflix chief confirms interest in deal with Harry and Meghan

Sajid Javid issues post-Brexit warning to business leadersSajid Javid issues post-Brexit warning to business leaders

Markets jump despite fresh US-China concernsMarkets jump despite fresh US-China concerns


Lifestyle

Flexibility naturally declines with age but there’s a lot you can to stay supple through the decades, says Peta Bee.At full stretch: How to stay flexible through the years

Simon Prim is owner of Simon Prim Book Shop, Main Street, Kinsale, Co Cork, which sells second-hand books.‘Kinsale is a welcoming town, and everyone is encouraging’

The Everyman hosts Ronan FitzGibbon’s play about singsongs along the Blackwater, writes Marjorie BrennanA river runs through it: Everyman to play to host to Blackwater Babble

WHEN I think about the kind of child I was, I would say that I was the exact same kind of person that I am as an adult. I have always been fascinated by things that I don’t quite yet understand. I recognise that I hardly understand anything and that most of the world is and always has been so beautifully complex to me.School Daze: Chris Hadfield - I realised at a young age that teachers were fallible

More From The Irish Examiner