Former Apple Employee Charged With Theft of Trade Secrets Related to Autonomous Car Project [Updated]

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. convergent, Jul 10, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2018

    convergent macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2008
    I have worked in US tech companies that had teams in China, and leading work that needed to be original in order for us to claim license/patent on it. I found countless times that my colleagues in China submitted content, signed that it was their original work, and I was suspicious by how well written it was. A quick Google search found word for word plagiarism of the material.

    After many discussions and getting to know these Chinese colleagues, I learned that as part of a socialist country, they were trained from birth that no one owned any property and so the notion of copying some intellectual property was incomprehensible. They simply operated on the principal that property was community owned so anyone in the community could take it and use it... and anything they created could also be taken and used by anyone else.

    Obviously in this case the guy was breaking laws and should have the full extent of the law thrown at him, but we need to understand what we are dealing with when dealing with anything in China. Its not "fair" to trade with someone who is trying to steal your property.
  2. TimmeyCook, Jul 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  3. skitidetdu macrumors 6502


    Mar 7, 2013
  4. smaffei macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2003
    I would be interested to find out if he was here on a H1B Visa and what his yearly compensation was.
  5. CrystalQuest76 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 14, 2015
    West Cost A Lot
    He was more than likely using corporate email server and iCloud, so naturally anything on the servers the corp security can see.
  6. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    It costs between $30,000 and $60,000 per year to keep someone in prison. That's similar to a teacher salary, or the starting salary base of a firefighter or police officer. Is it really better to jail this guy for 10 years than to hire a teacher for 10 years?

    If I was a judge, I would fine him the maximum and order him to complete 1,000 hours of community service while on probation; holding his passport and preventing travel until he completes the work and pays the fine. Then bar him from ever entering the US, doing any business with the US, or owning any US property or financial accounts.
  7. CrystalQuest76 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 14, 2015
    West Cost A Lot
    Up until two years ago, Jimmy John's had a Non Compete Clause that ALL employees had to sign. that included minimum wage store sandwich makers.
  8. HiVolt macrumors 6502


    Sep 29, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    So has this guy been arrested in the United States? Cuz if he's in China, good luck!
  9. 69Mustang macrumors 603


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    If by life you mean the maximum allowable sentence of 10 years then I agree. If by life you mean a literal life sentence... I'd say slow your roll. He stole tech that had already been redirected (rumored) once and could still end up being shelved and forgotten. Perspective, my dude. Corporate espionage is not on the level of life sentence crimes.
  10. wizard macrumors 68040

    May 29, 2003
    Not surprising one bit if a person understands what is going on in China right now. You can get exact copies of almost anything consumer related. That means Chevy cars, Macs, beer, watches - you name it! Rather pathetic if you ask me. This especially when you consider the lengths one has to go too to for an exactly duplicated car. Theft pure and simple.
  11. Mabus51 macrumors 65816

    Aug 16, 2007
    All of them, when you get hired on in competing fields, you fill forms stating conflicts of interest. These are then vetted out by the hiring company's legal team. Even if you have a no compete clause signed, that doesn't mean you can't work in similar fields let alone on similar projects. You just can't give IP information or use IP from your previous employer.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 10, 2018 ---
    It's close, a 25 year sentence is considered life in the legal essence.
  12. 69Mustang macrumors 603


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    Not sure how you get "close" when the difference is 15 years. Context really matters.:) Lifespan of a giant sequoia? Yeah it's close. Prison sentence? That's a whole other lifetime... figuratively speaking.
  13. fairuz macrumors 68000


    Aug 27, 2017
    Silicon Valley
    First the Tesla sabotage, now this. I'd hate to see companies having to get paranoid about their employees.
  14. luvbug macrumors regular


    Aug 11, 2017
    And he has a newborn, as well. He probably had financial problems that backed him into a corner. I'm not saying what he did is excusable, but as you say, some empathy please!
  15. JohnGrey, Jul 10, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2018

    JohnGrey macrumors 6502


    Apr 21, 2012
    Cincinnati Metro
    It's not designed to provoke an emotional response of any kind, nor is the assertion that China steals intellectual property something that originated with the current administration. Assertions of same have existed more or less since China was admitted to the WTO. As for the idea that it's unprovable, in absolute terms you're correct. That's what happens when one is dealing with a politically opaque government and one which structures economic joint ventures to include tiered technology sharing by seemingly unrelated entities that are in fact not separate at all. Nonetheless, one must ask the question of why he stole this information, as it is useless unless its value can be realised. There are, as I see it, two possibilities:

    1.) It was of value to him individually.

    2.) It was of value to his next employer, which from a political, socioeconomic and IP standpoint is indivisible from the Chinese state.

    For the first to be true, it must be reasonable to assume that the perpetrator had the knowledge and capital to bring the technology to market himself. Given that he was already lined up for a new job instead of doing a startup, that is an untenable conclusion. Therefore, we must assume that the second is most likely true. Is it absolutely provable? No. Is it consistent with reality? Yes.

    My point in writing it was to address an economic reality which is dangerous not just to our bottom line but to our freedoms. Case in point is the present reports that Hygon is producing AMD Zen clones. On the surface, that sounds fine, undoubtedly they'll be cheaper. Unfortunately, it's also not inconceivable that the AES instruction implementation will have back doors that make keyring exposure trivial. This is not political pandering, this is a security nightmare, and it's one of a thousand possibilities that happens when Chinese manufacturers, which are under strict control by the state, have the ability to corner markets through cloning competitive technologies at cheaper prices.

    Sorry, no blogging or selling to Fox News is in the works. I'm just someone that accepts that a free market truly can't be free when the primary competitor, and the state that hosts most of the manufacturing, is politically communist and economically mercantilist and thus is free to ignore questions of intellectual property and environmental arbitrage.
  16. whyamihere macrumors 6502


    Jun 30, 2008
    "Zhang is facing up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine."

    I hope he gets every bit of it.
  17. iriejedi macrumors 6502a


    Oct 4, 2000
    Nor Cal
    The Data Pointed to the possibility the car's control system was going to be powered complete by the New Mac Pro....
  18. QuadG5Man macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2014

    No. This guy stole from Apple and will be imprisoned for LIFE.

    So, as for your comment: no.
  19. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    That is when real work is done in the tech field. During business hours you have to deal with meetings and scrum stuff and status reports and phone calls and end users.
  20. Macalway macrumors 68030

    Aug 7, 2013
    I wonder what the dollar value on the info was.
  21. Mikey44 macrumors member


    Mar 6, 2012
    Tim Cook also said they are passionate about the Mac...

    So I don't always believe everything Tim says.
  22. gwaizai macrumors regular


    Aug 8, 2016
    Rather a Draconian penalty. Everything that is built in China is deconstructed anyway and the tech stolen.
    The iphone clone Xiao Mi for example.

    Just fine the guy the quarter million, collect what you can, and deport him--if a US citizen sentence him to community service for ten years. If no money, make him work it off a Foxconn--no scratch that, that's far too inhumane...
  23. ThunderSkunk macrumors 68030


    Dec 31, 2007
    Milwaukee Area
    Impressive. If I could seize everyone who has taken ip from my company over the years and raise a gaggle of plebs into cheerleading me as I demand a corrupt government throw them in a cell to waste away in prison, for the grand life-destroying crime of daring trespass upon my divine corporate interests, I'd have everyone Ive fired and every bad client locked up as well. Hell I'd be able to chase down and lock up every architect, designer & engineer that's ever left and gone to work for a competitor, for projects that never even materialized. I wonder how big my company has to be before I too can use the Feds to persecute my enemies. Can't wait!
  24. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    I don't think leaving the country would really be all that difficult... I'd imagine there's a massive number of cargo ships heading to China where you could either sneak your way on and off without anyone knowing, or could have the crew assist in smuggling yourself. Particularly if the Chinese government is involved, seems like it'd be easy.
  25. lec0rsaire macrumors 65816

    Feb 23, 2017
    It is treasonous behavior. These witches would’ve been burned at the stake in former times. Zhang deserves zero leniency. I hope he’s prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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