Former Google engineer charged with stealing AI tech while secretly working with Chinese firms

A former software engineer at Google has been billed with thieving artificial intelligence technology from the company even though secretly operating with two firms primarily based in China, the U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday.

Linwei Ding, a Chinese nationwide, was arrested in Newark, Calif., on four counts of federal trade magic formula theft, each individual punishable by up to 10 yrs in jail.

The situation from Ding was remaining introduced at an American Bar Affiliation Conference in San Francisco by Legal professional Common Merrick Garland, who alongside with other regulation enforcement leaders has continuously warned about the risk of Chinese economic espionage and about the countrywide security considerations posed by progress in synthetic intelligence.

“Present day costs are the most up-to-date illustration of the lengths affiliates of organizations based mostly in the People’s Republic of China are willing to go to steal American innovation,” FBI director Christopher Wray reported in a assertion.

“The theft of modern technological know-how and trade tricks from American businesses can price tag jobs and have devastating financial and countrywide safety penalties.”

Ding uploaded data files to own account: indictment

U.S. Justice Section leaders in recent months have been sounding alarms about how overseas adversaries could harness AI technologies to negatively influence the United States.

Deputy Lawyer Typical Lisa Monaco claimed in a speech final month that the administration’s multi-agency Disruptive Technological innovation Strike Power would area AI enforcement at the top of its precedence listing. Wray explained to business leaders at an function very last week that AI and other rising technologies had created it simpler for adversaries to try out to interfere with the U.S. political approach.

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An indictment unsealed Wednesday in the Northern District of California alleges that Ding, who was hired by Google in 2019 and had obtain to confidential information about the company’s supercomputing knowledge centres, commenced uploading hundreds of files into a individual Google Cloud account two years ago.

Held exec roles although working for Google

Three people walk by a large building with the Google logo on it.
Folks walk in Google’s main campus in Mountain Check out, Calif., on Might 1, 2019. Ding was available the placement of chief technologies officer at an early-stage engineering business in China. He also independently founded and served as chief executive of a China-based mostly startup firm. He did not disclose either affiliation to Google. (Amy Osborne/AFP/Getty Photos)

Within just weeks of the theft starting, prosecutors say, Ding was presented the position of chief know-how officer at an early-phase engineering business in China that touted its use of AI technological know-how. The indictment says Ding traveled to China and participated in investor meetings at the enterprise and sought to elevate funds for it. 

He also individually founded and served as chief government of a China-dependent startup enterprise that aspired to prepare “substantial AI models run by supercomputing chips,” the indictment mentioned. 

Prosecutors say Ding did not disclose either affiliation to Google.

He resigned from the enterprise on Dec. 26. Three days afterwards, Google officers learned that he experienced offered as CEO of just one of the Chinese businesses at an investor convention in Beijing. Officials also reviewed surveillance displaying that an additional employee experienced scanned Ding’s obtain badge at the building the place he labored to make it seem like Ding was there throughout times when he was truly in China, the indictment claims.

It was not promptly apparent irrespective of whether Ding, 38, had a law firm who could communicate on his behalf.