USA charges ex-Apple employee of technology theft

Weibao Wang, a former Apple engineer, allegedly accessed Apple’s proprietary and confidential information after leaving the company.

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The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced charges in cases related to the alleged stealing of trade secrets and technology to benefit China, Russia and Iran. This includes a case against a former Apple employee for stealing the company’s technology on autonomous systems, including self-driving cars.

The charges are directed at Weibao Wang, a former Apple engineer who joined the company in 2016. The indictment reveals that Wang secured a US-based position with a Chinese firm in 2017, which also develops self-driving cars, and waited more than four months to inform Apple that he was resigning.

Only after he left the company, Apple discovered that he had accessed proprietary and confidential data. During a search of his residence in June 2018, the Justice Department seized substantial amounts of Apple data. Shortly thereafter, Wang fled to China. Apple has chosen not to comment on this particular case.

The case is among the first announced by a US strike force set up in February to protect sensitive technologies. Prosecutors have also filed charges in four other cases that include stealing trade secrets for a competing business in China, smuggling US military technologies to Russia, exporting aircraft parts despite the suspension, and supplying materials for weapons of mass destruction production to Iran.