For the last six years, we’ve been following the case of Xiaolang Zhang, a former Apple engineer who pled guilty to stealing Project Titan trade secrets.
This week, Zhang has officially been handed his sentencing: 120 days of imprisonment and 3 years supervised release. Zhang will also pay restitution of $146,984.00. California federal prosecutors had asked the judge for a one-year prison sentence in the case.
Here’s the background on this case, as we’ve explained in the past.
The United States FBI first changed Zhang with stealing trade secrets back in 2018. At the time, it was reported that Zhang had taken parental leave from Apple and visited China during this time. When his parental leave at Apple was due to end, he informed the company that he would not be returning.
Instead, Zhang moved to China and joined XMotors, a Chinese-based startup developing autonomous technology for cars. Apple claimed to have noticed evasive behavior around the time of his exit, which prompted an investigation by the company’s New Product Security Team. This included an investigation into his network activity and Apple devices, which were surrendered when he left the company.
During his time at Apple, Zhang had worked on multiple products, including designing and testing circuit boards capable of analyzing data from sensors. One of the areas of specific focus was Apple’s Project Titan self-driving car technology. Through the investigation, it was revealed that Zhang had stolen numerous files from Apple, including a 25-page document with engineering schematics of a circuit board for an autonomous vehicle.
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