Former Google engineer indicted for theft of AI secrets

Translate from : Tidligere Google-ingeniør tiltalt for tyveri af AI-hemmeligheder
Linwei Ding, known as Leon Ding, is accused of stealing four trade secrets. The 38-year-old Chinese national was arrested at his home in Newark, California. According to the indictment, Ding stole detailed information about Google's supercomputer data centers, which could affect national security.

Linwei Ding, also known as Leon Ding, was indicted Tuesday by a federal jury in San Francisco on four counts of theft of trade secrets. The 38-year-old Chinese national was arrested Wednesday morning at his home in Newark, California. Ding's accusation was revealed just over a year after the Biden administration created an interagency task force to prevent advanced technology from being appropriated by countries like China and Russia or potentially threatening national security.

"The Department of Justice simply will not tolerate the theft of our trade secrets and intelligence," Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a conference in San Francisco. According to the indictment, Ding stole detailed information about the hardware infrastructure and software platform that lets Google's supercomputer data centers train large AI models through machine learning.


The stolen information included details of chips and systems as well as software that help power a supercomputer, "capable of performing at the intersection of machine learning and AI technology," the indictment said. Google designed some of the allegedly stolen chip plans to gain an advantage over cloud computing rivals and Microsoft, which design their own, and reduce their reliance on chips from Nvidia.

Ding, who was hired by Google in 2019, allegedly began his theft three years later while being approached to become the Chief Technology Officer of a Chinese tech company. By May 2023, he had uploaded more than 500 confidential files. The indictment said Ding founded his own technology company that month and circulated a document in a chat group that said, "We have experience with Google's 'ten-thousand-card computational power platform' we just need to reproduce and upgrade it."

Google became suspicious of Ding in December 2023 and took his laptop on January 4, 2024, the day before Ding planned to resign. Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesman, said: "We have strict safeguards in place to prevent the theft of our confidential commercial information and trade secrets. After an investigation, we found that this employee stole numerous documents and we quickly referred the matter to law enforcement." Ding faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.

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