Apple engineer attempted to leak confidential information to China

Andrew Cummings
February 2, 2019

Chen worked in the driverless cars section of the company, which recently fired some 200 employees in a restructuring.

The news comes after another Apple employee was accused of stealing trade secrets about the project in July 2018.

Jizhong Chen allegedly took photographs of machinery in Apple facilities, despite recently signing an oath of strict confidentiality when he joined the company's autonomous auto project.


Chen told Apple he downloaded his work computer to a personal computer as an "insurance policy" for job prospects in case his performance-improvement-plan at Apple ended with his termination but some photos dated back to June, Hernandez said in the filing.

An Apple hardware engineer was charged by the United States with stealing the iPhone maker's driverless vehicle secrets for a China-based company, the second such case since July amid an unprecedented crackdown by the Trump administration on Chinese corporate espionage. Inside his computer were more than 2,000 files containing confidential and proprietary Apple documents, including manuals, schematics, and diagrams. "A photo found on Chen's computer, which Apple provided to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, showed an assembly drawing of an Apple-designed wiring harness for an autonomous vehicle".

Another alleged Chinese spy has been caught apparently trying to steal secrets from Apple's mysterious self-driving vehicle project.


Chen was arrested before a scheduled flight home to China, where he allegedly applied to work at a rival autonomous technology developer. According to the indictment, Chen told Apple that he was going to visit his sick father.

The trade secrets theft charge against Chen carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

The FBI has accused an Apple employee of attempting to steal trade secrets related to the company's self-driving auto project.


In a statement, Apple said it "takes confidentiality and the protection of our IP very seriously". He was arrested and charged, and has pleaded not guilty of stealing trade secrets.

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