Published: Sat, February 02, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

A Second Apple Employee Has Been Charged With Stealing ‘Project Titan’ Secrets

A Second Apple Employee Has Been Charged With Stealing ‘Project Titan’ Secrets

The FBI has accused a Chinese national of trying to steal trade secrets from Apple's self-driving auto project, according to reports.

The FBI levelled charges at the Apple worker, Jizhong Chen, reported NBC, after he made off with information about Apple's so-called Project Titan driverless auto work. One of these was at a China-based autonomous vehicle company, which Apple said is a direct competitor.

The news comes after another Apple employee was accused of stealing trade secrets about the project in July 2018. Instead, the worker claimed to be leaving the country to visit family rather than fleeing the USA with the secrets.

Chen is now facing up to 10 years of prison with a maximum fine of $250,000 (approx Rs 1,64,00,000).

The affidavit from the Federal Bureau of Investigation agent assigned to probing Chen reveals the enormous lengths Apple has gone to keep its robo-ride project secret, including a separate building that only employees on the project itself can enter. His computer allegedly contained thousands of files of intellectual property including schematics and diagrams, along with hundreds of photographs from inside an Apple building.

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By snapping pics of computer screens, Chen apparently avoided detection by Apple's internal monitoring systems. Apple confirmed the secret files had been discovered before Chen had even been placed on the PIP.

The FBI noted that Chen had been put on a performance improvement plan in December, which would suggest he wasn't too happy at the company and was potentially at risk of being fired.

Earlier this month Patently Apple posted a report wherein National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said that one the key points in the US-Trade talks is about China's ongoing IP theft. As with Chen, he is charged with stealing trade secrets.

Jizhong Chen was arrested and charged with trying to take details from Apple's Project Titan, a project so secret the company had never publicly acknowledged it, NBC reported.

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