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The US Department of Justice has filed theft charges against a former Apple employee for physically stealing the confidential technology used in “Project Titan,” the company’s development of autonomous vehicles. Weibao Wang, who worked for Apple from 2016 to 2018, is the target of these fresh accusations.
Former Apple employee Weibao Wang is charged with theft after allegedly obtaining trade secrets pertaining to Project Titan. Wang is charged with six separate charges of stealing or attempting to steal Apple’s proprietary technology, according to the most recent report.
Before he accepted a job offer from an unknown Chinese company, Wang worked for Apple from 2016 to 2018. Despite having a search warrant served at his San Francisco home in June 2018, Wang swiftly flew to China after being served, breaking a promise not to leave the country.
Law enforcement personnel kept looking into the issue even after he left. Law enforcement personnel also found “stolen, confidential, and proprietary data” associated with Apple’s self-driving technology during the search.
The information seized from his residence revealed Wang had illegally obtained and retained Apple’s trade secrets.
Furthermore, the DOJ said that only 2,700 of the 135,000 Apple employees had access to the allegedly sensitive materials at the time.
Would Weibao Wang be sent to the US to answer for his crimes?
If Wang is extradited, accused, and convicted in this case, according to 9to5 Mac’s reporting on DOJ officials, he may be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for each accusation.
It is unknown if Wang is the subject of additional DOJ investigations or if a plan has been made for his extradition from China to the US. At a news conference today that also focused on its “strike force,” which tries to stop foreign nationals from stealing critical US trade secrets, law enforcement officials made this announcement.
Project Titan and Apple Car Development at Apple
Apple’s ambitious foray into autonomous driving, known as Project Titan, has been cloaked in secrecy. The business has been developing its own self-driving car technology and has made unspecified investments in R&D.
Wang is accused of stealing trade secrets, which puts Apple’s intellectual property and competitive edge in the autonomous vehicle market in grave danger. Trade secret protection is essential for businesses to keep a competitive edge in the global market, and such thefts can cause serious monetary and reputational harm.
Also read: Ex-Apple Engineer Flees to China After Allegedly Stealing Secret Car Tech Data
There are also a variety of murmurs, theories, and speculations around the Apple Car, the tech company’s covert development of a self-driving electric vehicle.
The theft of trade secrets is a serious offense in the US, particularly when it involves foreign people who inadvertently take the information and use it to progress technology in their own country. Wang’s case is still open.