Mon, 05 Jun 2023

Tesla accuses engineer of stealing supercomputer secrets

Robert Besser
10 May 2022, 17:27 GMT+10

AUSTIN, Texas: Tesla is suing former engineer Alexander Yatskov for allegedly stealing "confidential and tightly guarded" information related to "Project Dojo," the company's supercomputer technology.

According to the complaint, Tesla claimed Yatskov downloaded the information to his personal devices and refused to return it.

Tesla also said Yatskov, who started working for the electric vehicle maker as a thermal engineer in January and aided in the design of Dojo's cooling systems, lied on his resume about his work history and skillset.

Dojo is Tesla's neural net training computer that processes large amounts of data used to train the artificial intelligence software in its self-driving cars.

According to the complaint, Yatskov had access to Dojo's cooling information, as well as other confidential information associated with the project.

Tesla added that all its engineers sign a non-disclosure agreement preventing them from disclosing or storing confidential information about Dojo, stressing that Yatskov violated this by allegedly "removing Tesla confidential information from work devices and accounts, accessing it on his own personal devices, and creating Tesla documents containing confidential Project Dojo details on a personal computer."

It also discovered that Yatskov had sent emails with classified Tesla information from his personal email address to his work email, the company said.

In the complaint, Tesla claims that after it confronted Yatskov, he admitted to storing classified information on his personal devices, and he was placed on administrative leave starting April 6th, 2022. He was also asked to bring in his devices so stolen information could be recovered.

Yatskov responded by allegedly providing Tesla with a "dummy" laptop in an attempt to conceal any evidence against him.

Yatskov, who resigned from his position on 2nd May, is being sued by Tesla for compensatory and exemplary damages.

The company is also seeking a court order that would force him to return the classified information.

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