Ex-Google Engineer Accused of Stealing AI Secrets


A former Google software engineer, Linwei Ding, also known as Leon Ding, has been charged in the US with stealing trade secrets about artificial intelligence (AI) while secretly working for two Chinese companies. He was indicted in California on four charges and arrested on Wednesday. The Chinese national allegedly stole more than 500 confidential files and faces up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on each count. He is accused of taking information related to Google’s supercomputing data centres’ infrastructure, used to host and train large AI models.

According to the indictment, Mr. Ding was hired by Google in 2019 and began uploading information stored in Google’s network to a personal account in May 2022. He also worked for a start-up tech company in China and started his own tech firm focused on AI and machine learning. Prosecutors allege that Mr. Ding never disclosed his work for these companies to Google.

Google quickly alerted authorities when they discovered the unauthorized uploads, leading to Mr. Ding’s arrest. US Attorney General Merrick Garland stated that Mr. Ding was seeking to enrich himself by covertly working for companies looking for an edge in the AI technology race. FBI Director Christopher Wray added that Mr. Ding’s actions are a clear example of the lengths Chinese companies will go to steal American innovation.

The US and China have been engaged in a trade battle, with both sides imposing tariffs on each other’s goods. Trade relations have worsened under the Biden administration, with new barriers on trade, including restrictions on computer chip exports. Related topics include Google, China, artificial intelligence, and China-US relations.

You may also like...