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Former Google engineer charged for stealing AI knowledge to assist Chinese firms

AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters are displayed on computer motherboard in this picture shot June 23, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK, March 6 (mod1s) - A former Google (GOOGL.O), opens new tab software engineer has been charged in California on allegations of stealing trade secrets relating to artificial intelligence from the Alphabet company, to benefit two Chinese firms he was covertly working for.
Linwei Ding, also known as Leon Ding, was indicted on Tuesday by a federal jury in San Francisco with four counts of theft of trade secrets.
The 38-year-old Chinese citizen was apprehended on Wednesday morning at his residence in Newark, California. A counsel for him could not immediately be located.

Ding's indictment was released a little over a year after the Biden administration launched an interagency Disruptive Technology Strike Force, opens new tab to help avoid breakthrough technology being purchased by nations such as China and Russia, or possibly harm national security.
“The Justice Department simply will not accept the theft of our trade secrets and intelligence," U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a conference in San Francisco.

According to the indictment, Ding took specific knowledge regarding the hardware architecture and software platform that helps Google's supercomputing data centers train big AI models using machine learning.
The stolen material included knowledge on chips and systems, and software that helps power a supercomputer "capable of executing at the cutting edge of machine learning and AI technology," the indictment claimed.

Google built some of the allegedly stolen chip designs to gain an advantage over cloud computing competitors (AMZN.O), opens new tab and Microsoft (MSFT.O), opens new tab, which design their own, and lessen its dependence on processors from Nvidia (NVDA.O), opens new tab.
Hired by Google in 2019, Ding reportedly started his crimes three years later, as he was being courted to become chief technology officer for an early-stage Chinese tech business, and by May 2023 had uploaded more than 500 secret data.
The indictment stated Ding formed his own technology business that month, and sent a document to a chat group that read "We have experience with Google's ten-thousand-card computational power platform; we just need to replicate and upgrade it."
Google got suspicious of Ding in December 2023 and took away his laptop on Jan. 4, 2024, the day before Ding intended to quit.
Jose Castaneda, a Google spokeswoman, said: "We have stringent procedures to prevent the theft of our private business information and trade secrets. After an inquiry, we determined that this employee took various papers, and we swiftly forwarded the issue to criminal authorities."
Ding faces up to 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine on each felony offense.

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