Tesla accuses ex-engineer of stealing supercomputer secrets

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According to Bloomberg, Tesla has filed a lawsuit against Alexander Yatskov, a former engineer, for allegedly obtaining “secret and rigorously guarded” knowledge about the company’s supercomputer technology, Project Dojo. Yatskov is accused by Tesla in a copy of the lawsuit of downloading the material to his own devices and refusing to return it to the company’s servers.

On his resume, Yatskov, who Tesla alleges lied about his job background and skill set, worked as a thermal engineer and helped develop Dojo’s cooling systems in January. As the neural net training computer for Tesla’s self-driving cars, Dojo handles massive volumes of data. Allegedly, Yatskov accessed information about cooling systems and other sensitive aspects of the project, according to a lawsuit.

Tesla asserts that Yatskov confessed to hacking the data.

It is alleged that Yatskov violated Tesla’s non-disclosure agreement by “removing Tesla confidential information from work devices and accounts, accessing it on his own personal devices,” and by creating Tesla documents on a personal computer that contained confidential Project Dojo details. Yatskov has also been accused of emailing confidential Tesla information to his work email from his personal email account.

According to Tesla’s complaint, Yatskov admitted to having classified material on his personal devices when confronted by the firm. Tesla subsequently placed Yatskov on administrative leave, effective April 6, 2022, and requested that he bring in his equipment so that the company could recover any stolen information from them. As a response to Yatskov’s accusations, Tesla apparently received a “dummy” laptop from Yatskov. To make it appear as if it had accessed merely “inoffensive Tesla information, like an offer letter,” this supposed decoy contained nothing of the information un question.

On May 2nd, Yatskov announced his resignation from his job. As part of Tesla’s lawsuit against Yatskov, the company is seeking a court order to require Yatskov to return the secret material.