Saturday, July 07, 2012

I Spy, You Spy, We All Spy (for China?)

Ni hao (你好), Dear Reader, including any esteemed cyber-monitoring personnel from the People's Liberation Army.

In case you missed the news a couple of weeks ago in the Japan Daily Press, two former employees of a machine tools manufacturer in Kawasaki were arrested for smuggling copied documents and selling them to a Chinese competitor for a not-insignificant sum. (Thanks to Kevin's Security Scrapbook for alerting me to this, BTW.) 

China, of course, is the modern bugbear - real or imagined - in the corporate espionage industry (and also the old-fashioned, non-corporate, kind). Given that now most states consider economic wellbeing a central facet within their national security doctrines, organised economic espionage directed, or supported, by a regime such as the PRC is taken very seriously. 

Well, seriously by anyone other than the companies in my neck of the woods.

Even Australia recently got into the act, barring Huawei from bidding on a series of contracts worth some $38 billion for a highspeed broadband network throughout the country. On advice from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and concerms regarding cyber attacks originating from China led the Australian Attorney General's Office to meet with Huawei to inform them not to bother submitting a bid.

The US also had prohibited Huawei from working on a wireless network for first responders due to alleged ties with the People's Liberation Army. 

I find corporate espionage a fascinating area and would like to see some solid research regarding companies' perceptions of the problem versus actually documented incidents. I feel that the phenomenon is probably widely under-recognised and therefore under-reported although, obviously, by far most cases are not going to involve shady Oriental types reporting back to the PRC.

Actually, I've been toying with this very topic as a subject for a PhD but really can't be bothered with going back to university. Perhaps part-time...?

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