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Former Google software engineer charged for stealing AI secrets

Image via Reuters

Linwei Ding, a former Google software engineer, has been charged with stealing artificial intelligence (AI) trade secrets for Chinese companies, igniting concerns over intellectual property theft. Ding was indicted in California and arrested on Wednesday, facing four charges for allegedly pilfering over 500 confidential files, including sensitive data on Google’s supercomputing data center infrastructure.

If convicted, Ding could face up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 per count. The lawyer representing Mr. Ding could not be identified for comment on the case.

Ding, hired by Google in 2019, was tasked with developing software. However, suspicions arose when he allegedly began uploading Google’s network information to his personal account in May 2022. Further investigation revealed that Ding had spent time in China working as the Chief Technology Officer for Beijing Rongshu Lianzhi Technology, where he was offered a lucrative salary of $14,800 per month.

Additionally, Ding purportedly started his own tech firm, Shanghai Zhisuan Technology, specializing in AI, where he appointed himself as CEO. Both Rongshu and Zhisuan were contacted for comment, but responses were not obtained.

The case underscores the serious implications of US-China intellectual property disputes and sheds light on the risks associated with corporate espionage and technology transfer. As authorities delve deeper into the matter, it serves as a stark reminder of the importance of safeguarding proprietary information in an increasingly competitive global landscape.

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