June 9, 2023 12:51 am

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Close up of Department of Justice signage, representing the ex-Apple employee indictment.(Photo Credit: Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock)

Ex-Apple employee indicted overview: 

  • Who: The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed charges against five individuals — including ex-Apple employee Weibao Wang — of conspiring to export US technology or weapons to foreign destinations such as Russia, China, and Iran. 
  • Why: The DOJ says the charges show it is committed to preventing sensitive technology from falling into the hands of foreign adversaries. 
  • Where: Nationwide. 

A former Apple employee is amongst six individuals charged with conspiring to export either US weapons or technology to foreign destinations, including Russia, China, and Iran. 

Federal agencies are crediting the newly-formed federal Disruptive Technology Strike Force with stopping the alleged conspirators — including ex-Apple employee Weibao Wang, who is now believed to be in China working for a PRC-based autonomous vehicle competitor. 

Wang, a former Apple computer engineer, resigned from his position with the company in April 2018, but was determined to have accessed large amounts of confidential information regarding Apple’s self-driving vehicle project in the days leading up to his resignation. 

Despite allegedly informing law enforcement agents who subsequently searched his home — and discovered large amounts of data taken from Apple — that he had no plans to travel, Wang would only hours later purchase a one-way ticket to Guangzhou, China. 

If found guilty, Wang would face a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and fine of $250,000 for each count of theft or the attempted theft of trade secrets, according to the Department of Justice. 

“The theft of technology and trade secrets from U.S. companies is a threat to our economic and national security,” Suzanne Turner, assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division said, in a statement.

DOJ says charges show ‘commitment to preventing sensitive technology from falling into the hands of foreign adversaries’

The DOJ also accused two Russian nationals of sending restricted technology to commercial airlines in their home country, a Chinese agent of supplying missiles to Iran, and a tech worker of stealing sensitive manufacturing software. 

The founder of a European defense conglomerate, meanwhile, was accused of wire fraud and smuggling as part of the cases — which are the first under the new task force — announced last week. 

“These charges demonstrate the Justice Department’s commitment to preventing sensitive technology from falling into the hands of foreign adversaries, including Russia, China, and Iran,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the DOJ’s National Security Division, in a statement. 

Earlier this month, the DOJ announced that it had successfully disrupted a cyber espionage operation being run by agents working within a unit of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. 

Are you concerned about US weapons and technology being unlawfully exported to foreign countries? Let us know in the comments! 

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