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Apple Caught Up In Chinese Spy Case, Secrets Stolen

Apple has found themselves embroiled in a Chinese spy case with a former Apple employee now facing serious charges of stealing Apple secrets.

A former Apple engineer Xiaolang Zhang who was arrested on charges of stealing driverless car secrets for a Chinese start-up after he passed through the security checkpoint at San Jose International Airport to board a flight to China is now accused of downloading files containing proprietary Apple information as he prepared to exit the US Company for a job in China.

Previously he had been granted access to confidential company databases, according to prosecutors.

Apple was alerted to his activities after security staff grew more suspicious after seeing his increased network activity and visits to the office before he resigned, according to the complaint.

According to Bloomberg Zhang admitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation that 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.

Apple’s self-driving car project is a rare initiative by the company that has played out in the public eye over the past few years. In 2015, Apple executives approved a plan to build a self-driving, electric vehicle to take on Tesla and the Detroit auto industry. Apple hired more than 1,000 engineers.

However, about two years ago, Apple scaled back its plans to build a physical vehicle and has since had a team working on the underlying self-driving software and sensor technology. The self-driving space is exceptionally competitive, with dozens of companies across the world trying to take the lead in the burgeoning field.

The case is U.S.A. v. Zhang, 18-cr-70919, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

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