US gov’t announces arrest of former Google engineer for alleged AI trade secret theft

Enlarge / A Google sign stands in front of the building on the sidelines of the opening of the new Google Cloud data center in Hesse, Hanau, opened in October 2023. (credit: Getty Images)

On Wednesday, authorities arrested former Google software engineer Linwei Ding in Newark, California, on charges of stealing AI trade secrets from the company. The US Department of Justice alleges that Ding, a Chinese national, committed the theft while secretly working with two China-based companies.

According to the indictment, Ding, who was hired by Google in 2019 and had access to confidential information about the company’s data centers, began uploading hundreds of files into a personal Google Cloud account two years ago.

The trade secrets Ding allegedly copied contained “detailed information about the architecture and functionality of GPU and TPU chips and systems, the software that allows the chips to communicate and execute tasks, and the software that orchestrates thousands of chips into a supercomputer capable of executing at the cutting edge of machine learning and AI technology,” according to the indictment.

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