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HomeTechUS court charges former Google engineer of stealing AI technology for two...

US court charges former Google engineer of stealing AI technology for two Chinese startups he secretly ran

A former

Google

software engineer has been charged by a US court for stealing trade secrets about artificial intelligence (AI) technology and while he was secretly leading two Chinese companies in different capacities.
Linwei Ding, aka Leon Ding, allegedly stole trade secrets around Google’s

AI chip software

and hardware. Ding is accused of stealing “from Google over 500 confidential files containing AI trade secrets while covertly working for China-based companies seeking an edge in the AI technology race.”
What data was stolen
According to the indictment, Ding stole data related to Google’s tensor processing unit (TPU) chips that powers the company’s AI workloads, and work in conjunction with Nvidia GPUs to train as well as run AI models like Gemini.

The company also offers access to the chips through partner platforms like Hugging Face.

Ding, who joined Google as a software engineer in 2019, was tasked to develop software used in Google’s supercomputing data centres.
“Due to Ding’s job responsibilities, he was authorised to access Google Confidential Information related to hardware infrastructure, the software platform, and the AI models and applications they supported,” the indictment said.
Google worked as CTO and CEO at same time
Apart from working for Google, he held two C-suite roles at two different companies in China. The indictment said that he spent several months in China working for a start-up tech company that offered him $14,800 per month to be the company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

He is also alleged to have started his own tech company with focus on AI and machine learning. Ding made himself the CEO of the startup. In November 2023, Ding pitched his company at an investor conference
“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,” the indictment cited a document about the company.
“We have strict safeguards 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 case to law enforcement,” Google’s José Castañeda told Business Insider.
“We are grateful to the FBI for helping protect our information and will continue cooperating with them closely,” Castañeda added.
IT minister has a response
IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar shared a post, taking a dig at Chinese ‘innovation’.
“Meanwhile Chinese “innovation” at work …😅😅” he said in a post on X.