U.S. brings criminal charges against China for economic espionage

The United States of America is bringing criminal charges against China’s military for cyberspying and economic espionage. This is the first time criminal charges are being brought in such a case, and it will set an interesting precedent for international diplomacy.

In a news conference today, Eric Holder, Attorney General alongside Robert Anderson, executive associate director of the FBI, and other ranking officials, is expected to formally bring criminal charges against members of the People’s Liberation Army. The charges include cyber economic espionage and theft of American intellectual property.

Though other nations have also been accused over the years of cyber industrial espionage, namely Russia, China is viewed as the most aggressive against the United States. Estimates range from $24 billion to $120 billion lost annually due to Chinese industrial espionage.

The U.S. has long been wary of China’s involvement in industrial cyber-spying, and the two countries even agreed to tackle the issue in formal talks, however China has never been responsive whenever the topic has been brought up.

Of course the U.S. is no stranger to cyber-espionage, as the leaks from Edward Snowden regarding the NSA have clearly proven. However the U.S. government says there is great distinction between the NSA’s spying, officially aimed at maintaining security, and the type of economic espionage that China is involved in.

As mentioned, this is the first such charge brought against a foreign nation, but senior officials have said this is in no way the last, and other nations involved in such activities will be targeted soon. In the meantime this sends a message that the U.S. is becoming serious in tackling this problem, and it will be very interesting to see how this plays out with the international community.

Source: Washington Post | Chinese flag image via Shutterstock

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36 Comments

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I find it interesting that most of these cases are with companies based in Pittsburgh, Pa.... think about the current administration then think about that location. (I live here btw, so this stands out kinda fast to me)

How can the US bring charges against their banker, landlord and employer?

lol, these charges won't amount to anything, they are just for show

red hook said,
How can the US bring charges against their banker, landlord and employer?

lol, these charges won't amount to anything, they are just for show

the amount of money the US owes China is tiny compared to the amount of money we owe our own citizens.... you might want to do some research there...

basically china steals tech to further its own industries and military as that country can't create anything. Even their aircraft carriers are basically clone engineered from russia's designs. And their stealth fighter likes like a mix of Russian tech with F22 and F35 stolen designs. Their trains were stolen from japan's industry, their wind turbine designs from from europe.

so while the US is spying to catch terrorism and threat related data, there is nothing of value because china, doesn't make anything worth stealing.

You learn by copying other just as you have learned from other and on your way.

You can not reinvent plane, ship and phone. You innovate.

You can't reinvent paper!

Of all the attacks on the networks I oversee it is less than 1% that do not originate in China. The 1% split between eastern Europe and Russia.

Cyber industrial espionage? When American companies offshore their manufacturing to China, I'm not sure cyber espionage is needed. Good old fashioned industrial espionage yes. But American intellectual property is already in their country in Foxconn and the like.

That's a big LOOL. US companies does not shy of stealing, copycatting and even patenting interventions from all around the world. Not talking about US government itself - world's ever biggest digital/networking criminal.

what do they steal? the latest nike shoe design? US companies would steal, if there was anything worth stealing. What was been the latest chines innovation? Some new soda flavor?

Hahahahaha.

I know China steal everything but still.

The industry and governments need to protect their secrets better. Instead of hoovering up every bit of info, how about locking down the good stuff.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
China only needs to ask US for it's "loan" back and they'll be on their knees.

Yea and so will China. If the US economy goes down, China's does as well. Can't sell your cheap junk to us if we can't afford to buy it anymore.

I don't see the point of bringing another country up on charges when you're never going to be able to do anything about it. What a waste of time, resources, and money.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
China only needs to ask US for it's "loan" back and they'll be on their knees.

People keep bringing this up like it's something big when that's not the case at all. Out of the $15trilion (probably higher now) debt the US has, China is around $2trillion. That's not even the top holder of US debt the fact is the bulk is held by US citizens and government. So sure, let them ask for it, I'll take a bit more inflation and a weaker dollar if it means people will stop talking about this.

So since it's "that easy" why hasn't your country already done that? 2 trillion, you're talking like it's a sneeze for your country, stop being ignorant, it aint a sneeze for any country out there.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
So since it's "that easy" why hasn't your country already done that? 2 trillion, you're talking like it's a sneeze for your country, stop being ignorant, it aint a sneeze for any country out there.

Why are you talking about something you don't know a thing about in the first place, yet you want to call me ignorant? When the overall debt is $15-$16 trillion and you want to talk about how China can somehow cripple everything by asking for their $2t back, then no, that's not the case.

Ah, whats the point. Indeed, I do not know how it is when your country is trillions into debt. Cause ours actually knows how to run a country, with free healthcare to be exact.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
Ah, whats the point. Indeed, I do not know how it is when your country is trillions into debt. Cause ours actually knows how to run a country, with free healthcare to be exact.

And yet, while not trillions, even your country has debt.

Here are the figures:

Estonia: National Debt
Millions $ % GDP $ Per Capita
2013 2,778 $ 11.35% 2,160 $

United States: National Debt
Millions $ % GDP $ Per Capita
2013 17,558,540 $ 104.52% 54,000 $

US is a bit larger, but agree... Even Estonia has a national debt.

I know we have some national debt but last I checked it was around 6% not 11 :/

But Im guessing most of US debt comes from the over the top expenses on military hardware? I might be wrong. Last I checked ours was 2% of GDP which is already like candy money for the US.

Stokkolm said,
Yea and so will China. If the US economy goes down, China's does as well.

Yes, China won't survive if they stop giving their stuff away for free :).