Engineer who stole Apple car secrets must remain electronically monitored

Apple Car
Apple Car (Image credit: The Verge)

What you need to know

  • A U.S. District judge has ruled that an Apple engineer who stole secrets from the company must continue to wear a tracking device.
  • Zhang Xiaolang was arrested after allegedly stealing trade secrets regarding Apple's self-driving car initiative, Project Titan.
  • A second engineer will no longer have to be monitored.

A former Apple engineer accused of stealing trade secrets from Apple's self-driving car project must remain under surveillance, a U.S. District Judge has ruled.

As reported by Bloomberg Zhang Xiaolang was arrested in July 2018 whilst trying to catch a flight to China. Judge Edward Davila ruled that Zhang remains a flight risk, and as such must continue to wear a tracking device whilst he awaits trial. Zhang is alleged to have taken files relating to Apple's self-driving car project, Titan, before disclosing that he was going to work for a Chinese competitor.

A second man accused of stealing trade secrets, Jizhong Chen, will no longer have to wear a tracker after the judge said he wasn't convinced of risk. Chen was arrested in January, also trying to board a flight to China. A previous report on Chen notes:

Prosecutors allege Chen took from Apple more than 2,000 files containing "manuals, schematics, diagrams and photographs of computer screens showing pages in Apple's secure databases" with intent to share them. Agents arrested him in January at a train station on his way to San Francisco International Airport for a trip to China.

Apple had previously told the court it had "deep concerns" that the two employees would try to flee the country and seek refuge in China if they were not monitored. In his ruling, Davila noted that Zhang has tried to leave the country twice since the beginnings of an FBI investigation into him, once to Canada and once to China, saying:

"This impulsive behaviour is of concern to the court and cautions against relaxing the continued use of the device."

No trial date has been scheduled for the case as yet.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9