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Google, OpenAI Scrutinise Staff Amid Fear of China Spying – FT

Companies are turning to private security firms to vet their employees, including by using artificial intelligence

OpenAI and ChatGPT logos are seen in this illustration. Photo: Reuters
OpenAI and ChatGPT logos are seen in this illustration. Photo: Reuters


Top US technology firms such as Google and ChatGPT-maker OpenAI have stepped up processes to vet their staff and potential hires, amid growing fear that they may be used to spy for China, the Financial Times reported.

The increasing scrutiny follows escalating warnings from Washington, over the past two years, of rising risks of Chinese espionage.

Venture capital firms like Sequoia Capital are also asking companies on their portfolio to step up security screening of their employees, according to the FT report. Sequoia was grilled last year by US lawmakers over its investments in advanced Chinese tech and any ties with partners affiliated with Beijing.


Also on AF: US ‘Wants Allies to Block Equipment to More China Chipmakers’


Security analysts told FT that Chinese intelligence agencies are “persistent” and targeting companies “across the Fortune 500.” Spying activities often target key technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and synthetic biology, they said.

“Simply maintaining ties to certain countries means [an individual] could be vulnerable to being exploited, even if they do not want to cause the company harm,” one security analyst told FT.

That threat has meant that several private companies in the US are now offering employee screening services to firms in the country, FT said.

One company Strider Technologies, is even using AI for the screening process, according to the report. Strider’s system gathers data on methods foreign agencies use to target companies, such as Chinese “talent plans” that recruit foreign tech and academic professionals, often luring them with high pay packages.

The system uses this data to ‘flag’ individuals that require further screening.

Several big American firms, including Google, Apple and Tesla have been targets of Chinese espionage over the past few years. Spying cases have emerged in areas of key tech in other countries as well, including Canada and the Netherlands — where top chip equipment maker ASML acknowledged last year that an employee stole chip secrets for China’s Huawei.

Read the full report: The Financial Times.


  • Vishakha Saxena


Also read:

ASML Employee Who Stole Chip Secrets ‘Went to Work at Huawei’

How Samsung Exec ‘Stole $200m Chip Secrets’ for Foxconn China Fab

Ex-Apple Engineer Who Stole Tech For China Now At Baidu – CNBC

Alibaba’s Main Logistics Hub in Europe ‘Suspected Of Spying’

Chinese Spies Targeting Dutch Tech: Intelligence Agency

Espionage Fears Over Chinese ‘Tourists’ at US Bases – WSJ

China Facing a WikiLeaks-Style Crisis From Hacking Firm’s Data

Spying Arrests as Europe ‘Loses Patience With China’ – Yahoo

China Calls on People to be Nation of Spies For the Party


Vishakha Saxena

Vishakha Saxena is the Multimedia and Social Media Editor at Asia Financial. She has worked as a digital journalist since 2013, and is an experienced writer and multimedia producer. As a trader and investor, she is keenly interested in new economy, emerging markets and the intersections of finance and society. You can write to her at [email protected]


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