Saturday, December 2, 2023

Ex-Tesla Employee Sued for Uploading an Autopilot Source Code to his iCloud and Shipped to China

Former Tesla Employee Guangzhi Cao sued for illegally uploading the Tesla Autopilot source code into his personal iCloud Account in 2018 when he was one of the members of Tesla’s Autopilot team.

Tesla brings a suit against Cao for allegedly Stole Tesla’s source code and other company information as “trade secrets” and take those data to Xiaopeng Motors, Chinese based intelligent electric vehicle startup.

Xiaopeng Motors already faced a lawsuit for stealing the trade secrets which is related to another case that held in last year, a former Apple employee was arrested for stealing the files related to Cupertino’s self-driving car and bringing to China where he intended to move for work with Xiaopeng Motors.

In November 2018, Cao was offered a role by Xiaopeng Motors, before that Cao uploading the copies of 300,000 files and directories of Tesla’s Autopilot-related source code which is completely against Tesla’s policies and employment agreements.

Court Statement quoted that Cao created zip files of Tesla’s Autopilot-related source code and he allegedly deleted 120,000 files and disconnected his personal iCloud account from his Tesla-issued computer around December 26.

In the court filing, Cao denied the allegation and defend that he wasn’t involved in the theft of trade secrets but Tesla disagrees and states that he was employed in  “crown jewel of Tesla’s intellectual property portfolio” and that Cao tried to bring these trade secrets to Xiaopeng Motors, his new employer.

Uploaded Telsa Autopilot source code may reveal how Tesla has approached and solved problems in vehicle autonomy and how they used camera and radar to solve problems in autonomous driving.

According to the count fillings, “Cao admits that Tesla’s network and servers are passwords- and firewall-protected and are accessible only to current Tesla employees with proper credentials. Mr. Cao denies the allegations in this paragraph relating to Tesla’s protocols after employees resign or are terminated”

Tesla Also complaints that he access the source code that stored in Tesla’s own server which is protected behind Tesla’s strong firewall.

Mr. Cao also admits that he had access to some information that Tesla considers confidential while he was working at Tesla.

In this case, Cao’s lawyers argue that any source code or other confidential information that remained on his devices after he left Tesla would only be there “as a result of inadvertence.”

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BALAJI is an Ex-Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.

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