Loose lips sink ships: Project Titan(ic) engineer charged by DOJ for stealing Apple’s self-driving car tech

Home » Loose lips sink ships: Project Titan(ic) engineer charged by DOJ for stealing Apple’s self-driving car tech
Loose lips sink ships: Project Titan(ic) engineer charged by DOJ for stealing Apple's self-driving car tech


The United States Department of Justice has announced formal charges against a former Apple engineer. As reported by CNBC, Weibao Wang has been accused of stealing Apple’s autonomous driving technology for a Chinese self-driving car startup. Wang worked at Apple from 2016 to 2018 and had “broad access” to databases to “entire autonomy source code” at the company.

According to the Department of Justice, the data to which Wang had access could only have been accessed by 2,700 of Apple’s 135,000 employees. When he departed the company in 2018, Wang had already accepted a job at an “unnamed Chinese company which was developing autonomous driving technology.” Around this time, Wang had started to collect “large amounts of sensitive commercial technology and source code” from Apple.

Law enforcement officials uncovered a trove of “stolen, confidential, and proprietary data” when they executed a search warrant on Wang’s home in June of 2018. At the time, Wang had agreed not to flee the country, but he did so anyway and took a flight to Guangzhou, China from San Francisco.

If extradited and charged in the United States, DOJ officials say Wang would face ten years in prison for each count. In total, he’s been charged with “six separate counts involving the theft or attempted theft of Apple’s entire autonomy source code, tracking systems, behavior planning for autonomous systems, and descriptions of the hardware that was behind the systems,” CNBC reports.

DOJ officials made the announcement at a press event today, during which it also announced charges in four other cases as part of its newfound “strike force” to prevent foreign adversaries from garnering access to sensitive US technology.

Apple is also currently battling two other cases related to former Project Titan engineers stealing trade secrets.

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