DETROIT - Toyota Motor Corp. is beefing up security at its Ann Arbor, Mich., technical center.
Security officials at the Toyota Technical Center are tagging camera phones and laptop computers with tamper-proof stickers when visitors and contractors enter. They also are checking the contents of computer memory cards when visitors leave.
The move is in keeping with what other Toyota plants and offices and what other automakers are doing to protect their intellectual property.
Memory storage cards can be plugged into computers to copy as much as 256 megabytes of data, including blueprints, presentations and photos. A memory card is no bigger than a disposable lighter. The devices are sometimes called memory sticks or thumb drives.
The center has a full engineering staff. It does model design, emissions work and other proprietary engineering work for Toyota's North American models.
"As more new technologies are being made available, we are aware of the needs to put other measures in place," says Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Mahalak.
The center has not lost any technical data to thieves, but Toyota made the move to stay on top of rapidly changing technology, Mahalak says.
Ford Motor Co. spokesman Dan Bedore says Ford has had similar security measures in place for some time at its design center and technical centers. He says camera phones must be checked at the door. If any are found to have certain photos, the pictures are erased.