Ex-Google Engineer Arrested for Stealing AI Expertise Secrets and techniques for China

AI Technology Secrets for China

The U.S. Division of Justice (DoJ) introduced the indictment of a 38-year-old Chinese language nationwide and a California resident of allegedly stealing proprietary info from Google whereas covertly working for 2 China-based tech corporations.

Linwei Ding (aka Leon Ding), a former Google engineer who was arrested on March 6, 2024, “transferred delicate Google commerce secrets and techniques and different confidential info from Google’s community to his private account whereas secretly affiliating himself with PRC-based corporations within the AI business,” the DoJ said.

The defendant is alleged to have pilfered from Google over 500 confidential recordsdata containing synthetic intelligence (AI) commerce secrets and techniques with the purpose of passing them on to 2 unnamed Chinese language corporations trying to achieve an edge within the ongoing AI race.

“Whereas Linwei Ding was employed as a software program engineer at Google, he was secretly working to complement himself and two corporations based mostly within the Individuals’s Republic of China,” mentioned U.S. Lawyer Ismail Ramsey.


“By stealing Google’s commerce secrets and techniques about its synthetic intelligence supercomputing methods, Ding gave himself and the businesses that he affiliated with within the PRC an unfair aggressive benefit.”

Ding, who joined Google as a software program engineer in 2019, has been accused of siphoning proprietary info associated to the corporate’s supercomputing information middle infrastructure used for working AI fashions, the Cluster Administration System (CMS) software program for managing the information facilities, and the AI fashions and purposes they supported.

The theft occurred from Could 21, 2022, till Could 2, 2023, to a private Google Cloud account, the indictment alleged, including Ding secretly affiliated himself with two tech corporations based mostly in China.

This included one agency during which he was supplied the place of chief expertise officer someday round June 2022 and one other firm based by Ding himself by no later than Could 30, 2023, appearing as its chief govt officer.

“Ding’s firm touted the event of a software program platform designed to speed up machine studying workloads, together with coaching giant AI fashions,” the DoJ mentioned.

“A doc associated to Ding’s startup firm said, ‘we have now expertise with Google’s ten-thousand-card computational energy platform; we simply want to copy and improve it – after which additional develop a computational energy platform suited to China’s nationwide circumstances.'”

However in an fascinating twist, Ding took steps to hide the theft of commerce secrets and techniques by purportedly copying the information from Google supply recordsdata into the Apple Notes software on his company-provided MacBook after which changing the notes to PDF recordsdata earlier than importing them to their Google account.

Moreover, Ding allegedly allowed one other Google worker in December 2023 to make use of his Google-issued entry badge to scan into the doorway of a Google constructing, giving the impression that he was working from his U.S. Google workplace when, in reality, he was in China. He resigned from Google on December 26, 2023.

Ding has been charged with 4 counts of theft of commerce secrets and techniques. If convicted, he faces a most penalty of 10 years in jail and as much as a $250,000 high quality for every rely.


The event comes days after the DoJ arrested and indicted David Franklin Slater, a civilian worker of the U.S. Air Pressure assigned to the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), of transmitting categorised info on a overseas on-line courting platform between February and April 2022.

The data included Nationwide Protection Info (NDI) pertaining to navy targets and Russian navy capabilities referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is mentioned to have been despatched to a co-conspirator, who claimed to be a feminine residing in Ukraine, by way of the courting web site’s messaging function.

“Slater willfully, improperly, and unlawfully transmitted NDI categorised as ‘SECRET,’ which he had cause to imagine might be used to the harm of the US or to the benefit of a overseas nation, on a overseas on-line courting platform to an individual not approved to obtain such info,” the DoJ said.

Slater, 63, faces as much as 10 years in jail, three years of supervised launch, and a most financial penalty of $250,000 for every rely of conspiracy to transmit and the transmission of NDI. No particulars are recognized in regards to the motives or the true identification of the person posing as a Ukrainian girl.

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