Note to U.S. Officials - Stop Whining over IP theft

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Jeffrey Carr


Here's some un-solicited advice to pretty much everyone inside the Beltway. Please stop whining about China's hacking activities while rationalizing our own. No one else in the world has committed the scope or scale of cyber espionage that the NSA apparently has done against so many foreign states. No one else in the world has sabotaged another nation's uranium fuel enrichment facility. PRISM (and TIA before it) betrayed the same rights to privacy that China and Russia have done to their populations using similar technology and for the exact same reasons (to protect themselves from terrorists and threats to their respective governments).


For you to say that all of the above is OK for us to do but at least we don't steal other companies' intellectual property is utterly ridiculous and makes a distinction without a difference. While the U.S. government may not be interested in stealing a Russian company's IP, that's probably because we don't have any state-owned businesses. After all, U.S. companies certainly steal from others and have for many years. If those same CEOs ran businesses owned by the U.S. government (like EDF in France), I guarantee you that the U.S. government would be as eager to engage in "technology transfer" as China is or like the French government is, etc.


Moralist pronouncements from nation states almost always come across as hypocritical, heavy-handed, and pompous because the business of running a country and protecting its people and its assets is not a moral mission; it's a pragmatic mission. The federal government does what's necessary to keep the U.S. in a superior position in the world - as it should. Instead of whining about China's or any other nation's acts of cyber espionage, just suck it up and focus on incentivizing private companies to create an information security framework that actually works. 

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Gregory MacPherson I agree - let us remove morality from the discussion. Unfortunately doing so negates most if not all of this article.

Consider where you live; last time I checked you and I both sit within the conterminous United States of America. My question to you is, do you have a national identity? Are you an American? As an American CEO, what value do *you* place on *your* company's competitive advantage in the marketplace?

Nation states compete in the global marketplace. The Chinese got the upper hand on the US with their hacking activities. And yes, the US hacks other nation states, no argument. Like President Bush, the US is not blameless. However that's not to say that that Obama is good or that the PRC stealing American competitive advantage is beneficial to Americans.

The PRC has stolen ALL of the IP from the US, giving them trillions of dollars and decades worth of competitive advantage against the US in the global marketplace (and militarily also BTW). I'd argue for an offensive 'hack back' strategy against the PRC except that I already know how to make gunpowder and spaghetti :-)

The major telecommunication companies allow the US government access to ALL voice and data traffic, at the government's behest BTW, which puts the US government in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. If you want to make a *legal* argument against the actions of the US government then *that* is an argument that I can support.

NO country that spies has a moral high ground - they just have better or worse spies.

So, yes, let us dismiss the moral argument when it comes to espionage. But then let's also dismiss the whining, whether it be for or against the government.

In closing , here's some light bathroom reading for your upcoming Independence day:

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