Google engineer indicted for stealing trade secrets for China

Former Google software engineer Linwei Ding, also known as Leon Ding, has been indicted on charges of stealing AI trade secrets from the tech giant and passing them on to Chinese companies. The 38-year-old Chinese national faces four counts of theft of trade secrets and was arrested in Newark, California.

The stolen information reportedly included details about the hardware infrastructure and software platform used by Google's supercomputing data centers for training large AI models through machine learning. The indictment stated that the trade secrets contained information about chips, systems, and software that power a supercomputer capable of executing advanced machine learning and AI technology.

Ding allegedly transferred sensitive information from Google's network to his personal email and cloud accounts while secretly affiliating himself with two China-based companies in the AI industry. He did not disclose his connection to these companies to Google.

Google stated that it has strict safeguards in place to prevent the theft of confidential commercial information and trade secrets. The company conducted an investigation after discovering the theft and referred the case to law enforcement. Google expressed gratitude to the FBI for their assistance in protecting their information and stated that they will continue to cooperate closely with them.

The incident involving Ding is believed to be an isolated case of one junior employee acting alone, according to Google. The company emphasized that their security systems worked as intended and that they have taken legal action in the past to protect their trade secrets.

Ding's case is the first significant enforcement action related to AI-related violations since Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced the Justice Department's focus on such violations through the disruptive technology strike force. If convicted, Ding faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count of theft of trade secrets.


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