Last July, we reported that federal prosecutors had arrested a man for stealing secrets from Apple’s self-driving car project and attempting to take them to a new job at a Chinese startup. This week, another man was arrested under very similar circumstances.
Apple hired Jizhong Chen last June to work on its self-driving car project, which employs around 1,200 people. According to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI, Chen began taking photographs of confidential Apple information almost immediately. A June 20 image found on Chen’s personally owned computer showed “an Apple-designed wiring harness for an autonomous vehicle.”
Apple didn’t catch on to Chen’s alleged espionage activities until January 11, when another Apple employee spotted him snapping pictures inside a secure Apple workspace. He thought that was suspicious and alerted Apple security. Apple investigators interviewed Chen and secured permission to examine his personally owned computer, hard drive, and smartphone.