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Google Developer Pilfered AI Technology For Chinese Companies

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A former Google engineer is accused of surreptitiously collaborating with two Chinese companies and obtaining trade secrets pertaining to the company’s artificial intelligence technologies.

The 38-year-old Chinese national Linwei Ding was taken into custody in Newark, California, on Wednesday. She is accused of stealing four federal trade secrets, each of which carries a potential 10-year jail sentence.

Ding, who was employed by Google in 2019 to create software for the company’s supercomputing data centers, is accused in the indictment of having started transferring private data and trade secrets to his personal Google Cloud account in 2021.

The US Department of Justice said in a statement that Ding “continued periodic uploads until May 2, 2023, at which time Ding allegedly uploaded more than 500 unique files containing confidential information.”

According to the prosecution, Ding attended investor meetings for a Chinese startup AI company and was offered the post of chief technology officer after acquiring the trade secrets. Ding is also said to have started and been the CEO of a Chinese firm that employed supercomputer processors to train AI models.

FBI Director Christopher Wray stated, “Today’s charges are the latest illustration of the lengths affiliates of companies based in the People’s Republic of China are willing to go to steal American innovation.”

“It can cost jobs and have devastating economic and national security consequences when innovative technology and trade secrets are stolen from American companies.”

Ding may get a maximum sentence of 40 years in jail and a fine of up to $1 million if found guilty on all counts.

The case highlights the ongoing disputes between China and the US over theft of intellectual property and the competition to control cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence.