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Linwei Ding (AKA Leon Ding), Economic Espionage 2022 - 2023


On May 21, 2022, Linwei Ding allegedly began stealing trade secrets that were stored in Google’s network. The stolen data provided details of Google’s work in Artificial Intelligence.  Ding conducted data transfers until May 2, 2023, accumulating more than 500 files.

On June 13, 2022, Ding received several emails from the CEO of Rongshu, an early-stage PRC based AI technology company indicating Ding had accepted the position of Chief Technology Officer for the company.

On Oct. 29, 2022, Ding traveled to the PRC and remained there until March 25, 2023, during which time he participated  as CTO in investor meetings to raise capital for Rongshu.

On May 30, 2023, Ding founded Shanghai Zhisuan Technology Co. He applied to a Beijing based startup accelerator and venture capital firm Miracle Plus. He traveled to Beijing and pitched his new company to Miracle Plus’s venture capital investor conference on Nov. 24, 2023.  Ding noted to the Zhisuan Wechat investor group “we have experience with Google's ten-thousand-card computational power platform; we just need to replicate and upgrade it - and then further develop a computational power platform suited to China's national conditions.”


Tradecraft

Theft of files by copying the information into a personal Google Cloud account. He then copied data from Google source files into the Apple Notes application on his Google-issued MacBook laptop. He then converted the Apple Notes into PDF files and uploaded them into a new account.

Made repeated trips to China.

Repeatedly lied to Google management and security officers about his actions, plans, and intentions.

Ding had another Google employee periodically use his Google-issued access badge to scan into the entrance of a Google building hiding the fact he was in Beijing.

Ding submitted his resume to Google on December 26th, 2022. Has was already scheduled to leave on a one way trip to China on January 7, 2023.

Used open emails and WeChat (encrypted) for communications.


*Note: Since 2015, there has been a notable increase in the number of cases of Chinese nationals, companies, and government entities conducting economic espionage or theft of research targeting Artificial Intelligence.

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