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>> A case of alleged tech theft at Apple's self-driving car lab. An ex-Apple worker, Zhang Xiaolang, was charged on Monday for stealing trade secrets and was arrested earlier this month at the San Jose airport as he was trying to leave for China with a last minute ticket. That's according to a criminal complaint filed by US authorities in federal court against Xiang.
The case comes at a time of heightened sensitivity about key technology and US companies getting transferred to countries like China with the Trump Administration even considering moves to restrict investment by foreign companies into US tech startups. Reuters Stephen Nellis is following the story.>> According to the complaint, Xiang was an engineer working on Apple's self-driving car project and he declared his intention to go work for a Chinese electric car company called Xaopang Motors.
But before he left, he allegedly downloaded a whole bunch of confidential documents including this sort of crown jewel of a blueprint for a circuit board for a computer for a self driving car, that were sitting in a secret database at Apple. He also allegedly took from an Apple soft driving car hardware lab several circuit boards and a computer server.
>> The complaint says xiang told Apple officials he had taken the hardware because he wanted to transfer to a new position within Apple and thought it would be useful. Nellis says the case also gives fresh insight into Apple's self driving car development.>> It gives us some of the first, publicly confirmed details about the nature and the scope of Apple's self driving car ambitions.
So up to 5,000 people at Apple are authorized to have access to information about its self driving car efforts. The other really interesting thing about this complaint is that it shows the intense competition around self driving car technology. Now this is a criminal complaint and that's somewhat unusual, but we've seen tons of other legal activity in the form of civil lawsuits.
>> Apple said that it's working with authorities on this matter and will do everthing possible to make sure Xiang and any other individuals involved are held accountable for their actions.