Google engineer indicted over allegedly stealing AI alternate secrets and recommendations for China

A federal monumental jury has indicted a Google engineer, Linwei Ding, aka Leon Ding, for allegedly stealing alternate secrets and recommendations around Google’s AI chip application and hardware on March 5th, before he used to be arrested Wednesday morning in Newark, California. Deputy Licensed real Traditional Lisa Monaco mentioned in an announcement that Ding “stole from Google over 500 confidential recordsdata containing AI alternate secrets and recommendations while covertly working for China-primarily based mostly mostly corporations searching for out an edge in the AI technology elope.” 

Well-known of the stolen data allegedly revolves around Google’s tensor processing unit (TPU) chips. Google’s TPU chips energy reasonably plenty of its AI workloads and, in conjunction with Nvidia GPUs, can prepare and creep AI units like Gemini. The firm has moreover equipped entry to the chips via partner platforms like Hugging Face

Table listing stolen technology linked to Google TPUs, GPUs, and supercomputing data centers.

Image: Justice Division

Tool designs for both the v4 and v6 TPU chips, hardware and application specifications for GPUs frail in Google’s data heart, and designs for Google’s machine discovering out workloads in data centers are among the allegedly stolen recordsdata. 

Amid a increasing fingers elope around AI technology and US government efforts to ban China from gaining access to chips built for AI, some Chinese corporations maintain change into to local chip producers to energy AI platforms. Unhurried final yr, intelligence chiefs of the so-known as Five Eyes alliance of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand warned US tech corporations about corporations in China doubtlessly stealing mental property connected to AI, quantum computing, and robotics. 

The government accuses Ding of transferring those recordsdata to a non-public Google Cloud yarn between Would possibly perchance well presumably moreover 2022 and Would possibly perchance well presumably moreover 2023.

He allegedly did so “by copying data from the Google provide recordsdata into the Apple Notes utility on his Google-issued MacBook laptop,” and then changing them from Apple Notes to PDFs to preserve some distance from detection by Google’s “data loss prevention programs.”

The government says that much less than a month after he started stealing recordsdata, a Chinese machine discovering out firm named Rongshu equipped to create him CTO, he flew to China for five months to choose funds for the firm, and he subsequently based mostly and led a machine discovering out startup named Zhisuan, all while unexcited working for Google. He resigned from Google in December 2023 — and reportedly booked a one-means tag to Beijing scheduled to proceed two days past his kill date — after the firm started asking him about his uploads.

The DOJ moreover claims that in December 2023, he allegedly faked being demonstrate at Google’s space of job in the US by having one other worker scan his badge at the door while he used to be in actuality in China. Ding has been charged with four counts of theft of alternate secrets and recommendations, so he’s facing as much as ten years in penal complex and a $250,000 stunning on every depend if convicted.

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