Xiaolang Zhang, a former Apple employee, was sentenced to 6 months in prison and $146,984 in restitution for stealing information related to the company’s autonomous vehicle project. Zhang was caught red-handed at San Jose International Airport in 2018 as he was about to leave for China and was interrogated for a long time over allegations of spying. Although he denied the accusations for a long time, he finally succumbed to pressure and confessed in 2022.
Zhang worked as a hardware engineer for Apple and was involved in a special autonomous vehicle project known as “Project Titan”. Apple’s investigation found that Zhang transferred 25 pages of confidential project design to his wife’s computer and made a copy of the project’s user manual. Zhang, who was not suspected by anyone, suddenly resigned and took a job at the Chinese autonomous vehicle company XPeng Motors.
Zhang will be sentenced to 6 months in prison on June 19. Considering the 10-year prison sentence in the first case, it can be said that Zhang’s sentence is quite light. With similar cases on the rise, Silicon Valley companies are demanding harsher sentences to deter such crimes.