Industrial espionage plagues large companies and in this sense, Tesla is no exception. The automaker discovered that one of its software engineers had saved a few 26,000 confidential files on your Dropbox personal.
The company led by Elon Musk filed a lawsuit in the US Northern District Court of California and pointed to Alex Khatilov as the alleged perpetrator, a quality control software engineer.
The North American firm indicates in its complaint that its employee stole files from the internal network related to its Warp Drive software, used to automate many of the business processes.
Just three days after being hired, on December 28, 2020, Khatilov “blatantly stole” thousands of files and moved them to his personal Dropbox account.
The automaker was targeting Khatilov and they suspected that he was about to commit an illicit act. Given the clarity provided by the evidence, they decided to act by activating the corresponding protocols in the event of a possible information leak.
The North American firm indicates in its lawsuit that its employee stole files from the internal network. ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP)
“Only a few Tesla employees have access to these files and as a member of that group, the defendant took advantage of this privilege to download files that were not related to his work,” the complaint reads.
The personnel in charge of the investigation also disbelieve Khatilov’s version. They added that when surprised, tried to destroy Dropbox evidence along with stored information.
Despite the fact that Khatilov denied all the allegations on January 4 during a meeting with company personnel, he was fired two days later.
In his defense, this man who was expelled without any right to reply, claimed that he saved the files by mistake and forgot to delete them from his personal cloud.
In an interview with New York Post He indicated that he did not know that Tesla had filed a lawsuit against him until the newspaper contacted him.
“I have been working for 20 years in this industry, I know what confidential documents are about, but I never, never tried to access any of them,” he says with some regret.
It is not the first espionage case that the North American company faces. In 2018, he sued process technician Martin Tripp for bringing “gigabytes” of data to outsiders, including “dozens of confidential photographs and a video of Tesla’s manufacturing systems”. In December, the company reached an agreement with the former process technician, who admitted to having leaked confidential information to a journalist and will have to pay $ 400,000 as compensation.
In 2019, he sued startup Zoox, accusing four employees who had previously worked at Tesla of taking confidential documents.
This case was settled last April and Zoox admitted that “some of its new hires” were in possession of Tesla documents.