Apple engineer accused of trying to leak confidential information to China

Chinese worker allegedly caught stealing Apple self-driving car secrets

Chinese worker allegedly caught stealing Apple self-driving car secrets

Jizhong Chen was investigated after another employee reported seeing the engineer taking photographs in a sensitive work space, news website for NBC Bay Area reported on Wednesday.

Of course, trade secrets would still be important even if Apple does abandon Project Titan, its self-driving ambitions, altogether.

This is the second time in six months that a Chinese worker has been caught allegedly trying to steal Apple's self-driving auto tech.

Apple's self-driving auto project, Titan, has already been beset with issues. The accusations date back to when Chen was hired by Apple last summer.

During Apple's search of Chen's personal electronics, which Chen reportedly consented to, the complaint says Apple found "over 2,000 files containing confidential and proprietary Apple material, including manuals, schematics and diagrams".

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Chen gave permission to an Apple Global Security team to have his personal computer checked and incriminating files and pictures were found on his hard drive.

Apple is running one of the most secretive autonomy projects of any tech company. The engineer was apparently arrested one day before a planned journey to China, and it was discovered that he had made a job application to a rival Chinese company that is also working on autonomous cars.

If convicted, Chen faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum fine of $250,000.

"Apple takes confidentiality and the protection of our IP very seriously and we are working with authorities on this matter and are referring all questions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation", the report quoted Apple as saying.

This is the second Apple employee to be charged in the theft of trade secrets specifically tied to Project Titan.

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