Tesla filed a lawsuit against Alex Khatilov, one of his former employees, in a California court. The company accuses the computer engineer of having stole more than 26,000 sensitive files between the time he was hired and the time he was discharged CNBC.
A case of industrial espionage?
In its complaint, Tesla said it discovered on January 6th that Alex Khatilov had downloaded sensitive files to his devices and personal Dropbox. The computer engineer would have collected illegally between December 31, 2020 and January 4, 2021 over 26,000 files.
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Files that, according to Tesla “Have nothing to do with his responsibility” and that relate to manufacturing and marketing processes. In particular, the company believes that this information could be used by competitors to ” Build a similar automated system in a fraction of the time and with a fraction of the money Tesla spent building it “. Alex Khatilov, for his part, defended himself against the New York Post to confirm that These files were accidentally uploaded to his Dropboxwhen he tried to back up a folder on his computer. “I’ve worked in this sector for 20 years. I know what sensitive documents are and I’ve never tried to access or steal them.”explained the computer engineer.
A line of defense that Tesla rejected. In its complaint, the company said it had videoconferenced Alex Khatilov as soon as it heard of these downloads. During the interview, The man reportedly refused to allow access to his computer to the company’s investigators and would have been seen ” Hurry to erase information from his computer “. Tesla says it asked the IT technician to log into his Dropbox account “The same confidential Tesla files that were displayed on his laptop were still available through his cloud storage account.”
Tesla won’t let go of anything
For Tesla, this case is anything but a first. In the past, the manufacturer, which specializes in electric vehicles, had to file a complaint against former employees in order to protect its data. For example, last December the company signed a contract with Martin Tripp, a former employee who admitted to having disclosed confidential information to a journalist.
Tesla had previously sued the startup Zoox in 2019 and accused four of the latter’s employees – who had previously worked at Tesla – of stealing confidential documents. That same year, Guangzhi Cao, a former Elon Musk employee, was also prosecuted for uploading the autopilot code to his iCloud. The case is still ongoing.