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Former Google Engineer Charged with Stealing AI Trade Secrets

 |  March 7, 2024

The Justice Department unveiled charges against Linwei Ding, a former software engineer at Google, for allegedly pilfering artificial intelligence (AI) trade secrets from the tech giant. According to reports, Ding, a Chinese national, was accused of covertly collaborating with two companies based in China while working at Google.

The 38-year-old was apprehended in Newark, California, and faces four counts of federal trade secret theft, each carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Attorney General Merrick Garland, addressing an American Bar Association conference in San Francisco, emphasized the gravity of the charges and the broader national security implications tied to advancements in AI and other emerging technologies.

FBI Director Christopher Wray underscored the significance of the case, stating, “The theft of innovative technology and trade secrets from American companies can cost jobs and have devastating economic and national security consequences.” The FBI’s investigation revealed that Ding allegedly stole a considerable amount of confidential commercial information and trade secrets from Google.

Read more: Google CEO Sundar Pichai: World Isn’t Prepared For AI

Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda affirmed the company’s commitment to safeguarding its proprietary information, stating, “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.”

The case against Ding sheds light on the intense competition surrounding AI technology, with significant commercial and security ramifications at stake. Justice Department officials have recently been vocal about the potential misuse of AI by foreign adversaries, underscoring the need for robust protections and vigilant enforcement measures to safeguard American innovation and national security interests.

Source: AP News