Chinese theft of US trade secrets becomes more public

by Chris Zappone

…That’s the gist of recent comments from none other than the American Chamber of Commerce in China, which released a report showing 26 per cent of US businesses in China have had proprietary data stolen.

As the group’s president Christian Murck told the Wall Street Journal, data theft is “beginning to become public in a way it hasn’t in the past.”

Full report here.

Murck is right. It’s becoming a feature of the US-China trade and business environment.

The question is, how the issue will be viewed by the US public? On the one hand, for good reason, the US public’s respect for business is at a low point. After decades of US citizens being trampled by the freemarket economics that placed business, strangely, at the moral center of the nation, Americans can be forgiven for being less than sympathetic to woes of the industry.

But it’s not in the interest of American voters to stand by and watch as their economy is further damaged by Chinese cyber-espionage.

Americans, despite the general civil disobedience of the corporate sector in recent years, have not turned against the law. In fact, the remedy to the excesses of US business is the same as the remedy to the excess of Chinese cyber-espionage — the law, either in its application at home or the promotion of its culture abroad.

In the US, there is a flap over the reprised Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which is designed to help companies counter the cyber threat. In order to gain the confidence of the US public, the bill should require businesses to strip out personally indentifying information. Then companies can more freely share the anonymized data with the Feds in order to detect suspicious patterns in the information. In that regard, the privacy of American citizens could be protected, while its government, protecting its citizens, would have the raw data needed in order to fight the intrusions.

This would balance the needs of the government, business and US citizens, while helping hold the line on Chinese cyber-espionage of trade secrets.