Ex-Google Engineer Arrested for Stealing AI Trade Secrets for China

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(Dmytro “Henry” AleksandrovHeadline USA) A former Google software engineer was indicted for stealing AI-related trade secrets while working for Chinese competitors seeking to gain an edge in the technological race.

A federal grand jury in San Francisco charged Linwei Ding with four counts of trade secret theft, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison, according to the Epoch Times. Ding was arrested on March 6, 2024, in Newark, Calif., where he had been living before his arrest.

Between May 2022 and May 2023, more than 500 files containing confidential information were stolen by the 38-year-old, including detailed information about the hardware infrastructure and software platforms that allow Google’s supercomputing data centers to train large AI models through machine learning.

According to the indictment, an early-stage Chinese company with a focus on AI offered to make Ding its chief technology officer within weeks after he began the theft activity. The news source added that the job came with a monthly salary of about $14,800 with an annual bonus and company stock.

Ding traveled to China in October 2022 and stayed there until March 2023, participating in investor meetings to raise capital for the firm, Beijing Rongshu Lianzhi Technology.

He then founded an AI startup in Shanghai in May 2023.

“We have experience with Google’s ten-thousand-card computational power platform. We just need to replicate and upgrade it — and then further develop a computational power platform suited to China’s national conditions,” he wrote in a document that was promoting his company on the China-based social media platform WeChat.

On three separate days in December 2023, Ding also had another Google employee scan his access badge to create the impression that he was working from the U.S. Google office when, in fact, he was in China, the Google investigators stated after examining surveillance footage.

Initially, Ding managed to evade Google’s detection by copying the company’s data into the Apple Notes application on his Google-issued MacBook and then converting it into PDF format to upload to his personal Google Cloud account.

However, the company became suspicious in December 2023, when he uploaded additional files from the Google network to another personal account while being in China.

Ding told a Google investigator that he had wanted to use the information as evidence of the work that he had done at Google.

It was also reported that, less than a week later, Ding booked a one-way ticket to Beijing slated to depart on Jan. 7. After doing that, he resigned from Google on Dec. 26, 2024.

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