back to article FBI and MI5 bosses: China cheats and steals at massive scale

The directors of the UK Military Intelligence, Section 5 (MI5) and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday shared a public platform for the first time and warned of China's increased espionage activity on UK and US intellectual property. Speaking to an audience of business and academic leaders, MI5 director general …

  1. Christoph

    And you can believe what the US says - they are the world experts at hacking into other countries.

    1. LogicGate

      How many firms have you heard of, that have invested into setting up businesses in the US, only to turn around to find that the busyness (and the IP) suddenly does not belong to them anymore?

      I have heard about at least 2 companies that we deal with having this happen to them in China.

      Please drop the false equivalences. The US has some serious problems, but here we are talking about orders of magnitude worse.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        I will start the bidding with Maksym Polyakov's investment in Firefly Aerospace and the demands from the US Committee on Foreign Investment.

        (For the time being I see China as a bigger problem than the US but if Trump wins the mid-terms Roe v. Wade will look like a mild introduction to what will happen next.)

        1. LogicGate

          I may be wrong, but I believe that he was "asked" to sell. Changing the locks over night is on another level.

          1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

            I agree with the false equivalence but believe I provided a valid example as requested. "Asked" with big quotes is about right. Firefly were effectively locked out of US government launch contracts and their launch facilities at Vandenberg. Firefly were effectively dead until they did as they were "asked". If holding that stick had not been sufficient, the US government would have found a bigger stick to shake at Firefly while politely asking Polyakov to sell.

            1. LogicGate

              Yep.

              The only mitigating issue is that this was a business that was on the sharp end of strategic military importance, open to the same type of misuse as when a russian owned company emptied German gas reserves just before the invasion of Ukraine. (An ownership which should never have been allowed to happen in the first place)

              What happens in China is much more widespread.

              I think that it is wrong to declare the US innocent, but immediately stating that the US is worse than China is simply wrong.

              1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

                Re: immediately stating that the US is worse than China is simply wrong

                Agreed, which is why I didn't do that. Mitigating circumstances although certainly valid were not required in the request for an example. At the moment, this is a case of a spider calling an aardvark an insectivore. Although the US has not gone any near as bad as China they have made real efforts to catch up and have a significant opportunity to close the gap further.

                1. Youngone Silver badge

                  Re: immediately stating that the US is worse than China is simply wrong

                  You are entirely correct and I suspect the downvoters are not taking the time to understand your point. They just see it as some sort of false equivalence or whatever.

      2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Mushroom

        > "setting up businesses in the US, only to turn around to find that the busyness (and the IP) suddenly does not belong to them anymore?"

        What, like Apple stealing Samsung's rounded corners?

        .

        (tongue in cheek, but there is an element of truth behind it)

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          The actual litigation was Apple accusing Samsung of copying glass to the edge of the device (which only Samsung could manufacture at the time), four columns of icons and the colour black. Not an example as requested and doubly so because Apple lost and were required to publish an apology on their website (had javascript to size the image above to hide the apology to where scrolling would be required to see it) and in newspapers (so unobtrusive and badly worded that they got a scolding from the judge).

        2. LogicGate

          Nope, like new locks and armed guards escorting you away.

          1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

            I haven't tried, but what do you think would happen if you tried to get into Vandenberg Space Force Base with and expired pass? (Date valid but serial number on a list of rescinded passes)

            1. LogicGate

              The difference is that neither you or I paid for (I know.. taxes) built up or own Vandenberg Space Force Base.

              I could drag barbequing penguins into the discussion, but it would have just as little to do with the previous posts as the security measures around Vandenberg Space Force Base.

              1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

                Firefly leased Vandenberg Space Launch Complex 2 for their launches then were told they would not have access.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Just because the US not acting /exactly/ now as China does isn't evidence they're better.

        As a matter of fact, I've heard often enough about the US spying on its allies, both on political leaders and to steal technology, and applying pressure on foreign companies so they do ("voluntarily", as someone like you would say), what the US government wants.

        Looking back at history, you'll notice that the US did in fact /exactly/ what they're complaining China is doing now, during the 19th century, when it was convenient for them. So see, this really is "do as we say, not as we did ourselves".

        https://foreignpolicy.com/2012/12/06/we-were-pirates-too/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          So because the USA had slavery at one point in its history, we should not criticize nations which employ slavery today?

          The topic is the CCP's current behaviour, not who else is guilty or innocent now or in the past.

          Don't partake in whataboutism. CCP shills get paid to do that, you don't have to do it for them for free.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > Don't partake in whataboutism

            I really can't stand that stupid, self entitled neologism.

            Why on Earth shouldn't I criticise your one sided view of things? What exactly makes you think that your case is somehow special?

            This is the 21st century equivalent of covering your ears with the palm of your hands and going tra-la-la-can't-hear-you.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              > Why on Earth shouldn't I criticise your one sided view of things?

              You're not criticizing anyone's view though, because you haven't said anything to defend China's actions or refute the claims. You're just bringing up different views, about a different country, that was not the subject of the conversation.

              If the article were about the US doing something, bringing up China's actions would be equally off-topic. Nobody's saying that others haven't been guilty of things in the past or present. What we're saying is that the issue at hand is China's behaviour.

              However you feel about the word, "whataboutism" is a well documented disinformation strategy of distraction and deflection. It's the equivalent of going to a protest with a megaphone and shouting about a different issue. "Yeah, British nurses should be paid better, but look at how nurses are treated in Sudan!" It just muddies the message. If you want to protest something else, find a suitable venue, don't hijack someone else's.

            2. Hull
              Stop

              Whataboutism

              Whataboutism is an even more egregious form of the tu quoque fallacy. ( ... neologism) It has been known for a very long time as a sophistic trick. The name fits, is memorable and in my experience people immediately understand it. What more do you want?

              It is right criticize all wrongs.

              But it is wrong to criticize them where it prevents understanding of or measures against the wrong currently discussed. Where would this lead?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How many firms have you heard of, that have invested into setting up businesses in the US, only to turn around to find that the busyness (and the IP) suddenly does not belong to them anymore?

        Just about every company that partnered with Microsoft.* Novell for example.

        * Other greedy/evil US tech companies are available

        1. Zolko Silver badge

          Just about every company that partnered with Microsoft.* Novell for example.

          I was thinking of Nokia. Bayer and Monsanto would be good examples also. Or Huawei. Or many small businesses I know that don't want to sell in the US for fear of stupid litigation (like the dog in the microwave oven story).

      5. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

        Does the NSA spying on Airbus to give that information to Boeing count ? or NSA providing Thomson-CSF information to Raytheon on a Brazilian radar project? (Sorry I don't have links to hand for the second one)

        1. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

          I forgot to add that it would be a good idea for the previous post to lookup some of the concerns / whistle blowing that surrounded ECHELON

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ferranti - a successful century-old British company, a major part of the UK defence industry, that collapsed after investing in a US company that turned out to be a front for iillegal activity by the US government.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Signal_and_Control

        1. SundogUK Silver badge

          Bollocks. Even the article you link to says nothing of the sort. The ISC CEO got fifteen years for fraud and the US government had nothing to do with it.

          1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

            By the 1980s, ISC's business primarily consisted of illegal arms sales started at the behest of various US clandestine organizations. On paper the company looked to be extremely profitable on sales of high-priced "above board" items, but in fact these profits were essentially non-existent. After the sale of the company to Ferranti in 1987 all illegal sales ended immediately, leaving the company with no obvious cash flow, and the merger led to the ultimate collapse of Ferranti in 1991.[1]

            Clear enough?

      7. Alan Brown Silver badge

        The Lumiere Brothers spring to mind as a classic example

      8. This post has been deleted by its author

      9. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > How many firms have you heard of…

        TikTok?

        > I have heard about at least 2 companies that we deal with having this happen to them in China.

        Which ones?

        There's the 51% rule, in common with many other countries, and a fairly aggressive spying programme, yes, but I'm not aware of any straight stealing since they joined the WTO.

      10. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > I have heard about at least 2 companies that we deal with having this happen to them in China.

        Which two companies are those?

        Not saying it couldn't happen, but "someone says on the internet" is not the strongest of arguments.

  2. cantankerous swineherd

    the US is a bigger threat than China so far as I'm concerned

    1. Lis

      @cantankerous swineherd

      I am not sure "threat" is the right word.

      They started and no doubt still carry on...

      https://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2018/07/30/ip_theft_is_what_once_helped_make_america_great_103367.html

      Ishy

    2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

      “ the US is a bigger threat than China so far as I'm concerned”

      When this is said by a westerner it usually demonstrate that said westerner is of utmost stupidity who probably ha# no clue how non-western countries work.

    3. cantankerous swineherd

      who is more likely to kidnap and torture me?

      1. USA

      2. China

  3. The curmudgeonly one

    S IP mple gix

    Keep your vital material off the internet. Hit inconvenient, but worth the hassle

    1. John69

      Re: S IP mple gix

      If your business relies on keeping something secret you really should keep it secret. If someone finds your secret they are not stealing from you.

      1. FILE_ID.DIZ
        Holmes

        Re: S IP mple gix

        Well - that's simple to say. Way less simple to implement.

        Even considerably locked down systems, such as some Federal Court electronic filing and case management system were breached via the monitoring tools used to maintain its uptime. [0] These are systems designed to handle court sealed documents, which is just about as close to "Top Secret" as you can get in the civilian side of the world.

        I'm sure they did their due diligence. However, security is always a cat and mouse game and the crims only have to get lucky once and the company (or court) has to always get it right.

        [0] - https://krebsonsecurity.com/2021/01/sealed-u-s-court-records-exposed-in-solarwinds-breach/

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: S IP mple gix

        That is exactly the problem that patents were invented to solve.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: S IP mple gix

          Patents weren't intended to protect secrets, they were intended to protect exclusivity (for a period) in return for publiction.

          Remember Coca-Cola's and KFC's recipes are business secrets not patents.

          What is perhaps noteworthy is, unlike copyright, there is not a well-funded group lobbying to extend the life of patents to 70+ years.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: S IP mple gix

            Prior to patents, the only way to protect IP was to keep it secret for as long as possible By encouraging publication, and granting a limited period of exclusivity in return, people no longer had to worry so much about secrecy.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: S IP mple gix

            For that matter, copyright was intended to give the same limited protection for creativity and has been abused out of all recognition from the original grants to become a serious impediment on creativity and the arts rather than an encouragement

            The influence that music and movie industries have had on lawmaking is wildly out of all proportion to their actual value and economic turnover

            1. SundogUK Silver badge

              Re: S IP mple gix

              Because you can't rip off other peoples ideas is not a serious impediment on creativity. Come up with a new idea yourself.

          3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: S IP mple gix

            What is perhaps noteworthy is, unlike copyright, there is not a well-funded group lobbying to extend the life of patents to 70+ years. .... Roland6

            Do patents presently have a shelf life/half life? What is it? Who here knows and wants to share what is known and/or imagined?

            1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

              Do patents presently have a shelf life/half life?

              Yes, though it varies by jurisdiction — for example, signatory countries to the European Patent Convention have patents with a term of 20 years from filing, and the US has two varieties: utility patents have a term of 20 years from the earliest filing in either the US or a signatory country of the Patent Coöperation Treaty, and design patents have a term of 15 years from issuance. Note that patents generally have associated maintenance fees, so not paying those fees by their due dates can end patent protection before the patent term expires.

          4. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: S IP mple gix

            Remember Coca-Cola's and KFC's recipes are business secrets not patents.

            Neither of them actually exist in reality, they are easy enough to deduce. The idea of a secret recipe is a marketing gimmick.

          5. ITMA Bronze badge

            Re: S IP mple gix

            The fundamental issue with patents is, and has always been, the strength of them depends on your ability to defend them.

            This comes down to one simple fact, especially when the USA is involved - how deep are your pockets.

            The deeper your pockets (or someone else's pockets who is willing to help), the better the lawyers you can afford to keep the other side in court and/or buried in legal stuff until they run out of money.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: S IP mple gix

        If your business relies on keeping something secret, you need to reconsider your business model. It's possible to be profitable without being clandestine.

        Corporate secrets are a vulnerability in and of themselves.

        Let's be real here, if your business relies upon secrets, it is always a matter of time until someone else figures out how to do roughly what it is that you're keeping secret, certainly enough to be competitive in some regard, whether it's stolen or not. On a planet with 7.7 billion people, if you have a 1 in a million concept then there are approximately 7,700 other 1 in a million people that can figure it out too.

        There is also performance improvements in tech to take into account. A shonky written rip off of a tool written now that mimics what a tool did 10 years ago will have a mostly imperceptible performance penalty for most garden variety computer users...all you have to do to compete for the most part is be cheaper and slap a nicer UI on it.

        Look at Jira as an example...the UI is fucking terrible, the workflow is god awful and everyone hates it...people that hate Jira (most of the organisms that require oxygen to survive) tend to use something like Basecamp. Basecamp offers way less in terms of features than Jira, so on paper seems inferior...however, Basecamp is a lot more user friendly (so I'm told) and as a much slicker user experience. Ergo, they didn't have to compete directly with Jira feature for feature to convert Jira users into Basecamp users...they just had to cherry pick the bits people like, make the user experience slicker and off they went. Meanwhile, Jira can't do this because they probably have users all over the place that rely on niche features in the package...so they can't retract functionality because they will automatically lose subscribers...but if they don't try and retract things, make things slicker and so on, they will lose customers anyway and they are. Fucked if they do, fucked if they don't. Doesn't matter if they have corporate secrets or not. It also doesn't matter if those corporate secrets became public because it wouldn't give their competition any advantage they don't already have.

        I would also go as far to say that most businesses probably couldn't care less if their competitions secrets landed in their laps somehow...as has been demonstrated time and time again...most notably when someone tried to leak a Coca Cola recipe to Pepsi. Pepsi immediately notified authorities, handed it back and did nothing with it.

        https://www.theguardian.com/media/2006/jul/07/marketingandpr.drink

        This is just one example of how competing businesses don't give a shit about the competitions product.

        The money and success is out there...

        *points out of the window where the customers holding money are*

        Not over there...

        *points at the company safe filled with "secrets" and bullshit*

        The ability to acquire customers is linked to the quality of your product and your ability to listen to customer demands and requirements...not matching the competition and re-boxing their product. If you mirror the products your competition makes almost identically, the only ground you can really compete on is price...which puts you in a position where you can never be as profitable / cash rich as your competition. In which case you will always be seen as the cheap knock off not the industry leader.

        Of course, this doesn't exclude the reality that people that want to steal corporate secrets actually exist...but it does highlight how stupid it is to try and steal "secrets" in the first place and how rediculous it is to consider that something should be held as a "secret".

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: S IP mple gix

          "Look at Jira as an example..."

          Microsoft did the same to the existing market. It was "good enough" - and cheap. Only when it had established itself as THE dominant entity did it start strangling the market

          This is one of the reasons Linux terrified them in the late 90s/early 00s

    2. FILE_ID.DIZ
      FAIL

      Re: S IP mple gix

      I disagree with your oversimplification of the problem. Much (but not all) of this data isn't "on the internet". It is protected by firewalls. However, if an employee (or other account with appropriate access) is breached, then data can be 'exfiltrated' via the internet.

      I'm sure that companies like Boeing aren't hanging QNAP's on the internet...

      And that exception "but not all" has to deal with email. There is a lot of sensitive data that we pass through email and is stored in our inbox and sent box that's hanging off the internet for any opportunistic hacker.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: S IP mple gix

        No, sure...companies like Boeing though have more than just the "secret plans for new aircraft" to rely upon. If the plans for aircraft leaked, it wouldn't offer the competition much advantage over Boeing as their manufacturing processes might be completely different and any stolen plans might be impossible for someone else to implement whilst remaining competitive.

        As demonstrated by the 737-MAX and the takeover of Boeing...Boeing was more than just a business that had great designs...they were great because of their internal culture, the leadership and so on...when they were taken over by fuckwits that thought they were just another manufacturing production line, it went to shit because they didn't focus on the important parts...they thought they'd bought a goose that lays golden eggs without any consideration for how to keep that goose laying golden eggs.

        If I somehow stole the "secret recipe" for KFC chicken, and I managed to replicate it perfectly, everytime, there is no way on earth I could expect to compete with KFC and make the profits they do even if my product is exactly the same. Everything else I sell at "A bit like KFC but not really" might be nowhere near the same standard. Hell, my restaurants might be not be in similar convenient locations, I might sell only cheap cash and carry knock off soft drinks to go with that stolen chicken recipe. The buckets might be actual fucking buckets I got cheap from Wilko. What I'm trying to say is, there is usually more than just the "secret recipe" involved in the success of a product. Therefore, if you rely solely on a specific secret to be competitive, you're already fucked. Even your kids will tell you that after a Spongebob Squarepants viewing marathon.

  4. deadlockvictim

    US & UK Governments

    If China is such a threat, then simply forbid your multinationals from doing business in China.

    China benefits from them too, you know.

    The multinationals will surely wail that their profit margins will fall and that they will only make $200 profit rather than $500 profit on an iPhone, you know what to tell them.

    It will also be nice, for a change, to see some films with Chinese people as the bad guys or possibly even criticising the Chinese government.

  5. Pseudonymous Clown Art

    "China cheats and steals at massive scale"

    LLoyd Christmas: No way?!

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Clarification Please .....

    .... Lest Ambiguity Presents and Promotes Piss Poor Preparations Planning Pathetic Performances

    "And if you have, or are trying for, a presence in the Chinese market, you'll be subject to more attention than you might think," he added.

    Is that a Wild Wacky Wicked threat from the West or an Exotic Erotic Ethereal treat from the East?

    With a novel engaging market in the sum of billions, in both reward and persons, a presence in the Chinese market is a no-brainer for any entrepreneurial enterprise delivering a leading advantage over both hostile opposition and subversive competition alike.

    There is one simple way to try and prevent the brain drain of anything worthy of the Chinese billions ...... and that is surely the most generous of home team purchases of such enterprises .... with the tacit agreement from proprietary intellectual property sources to not deliver leading advantage to foreign forces first .... unless and until the advantage be abused and misused to create a perverse inequality and corrupt inequity ....... which always delivers an unwelcome disruptive and mutually assured destructive conflict and thus is gravely to be regarded and always best avoided and prevented.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "painting China as a threat with false accusations"

    There's a laundry list of Chinese nationals caught stealing secrets red-handed that says that those accusations are not entirely false.

    1. FILE_ID.DIZ

      Re: "painting China as a threat with false accusations"

      China, like all the super powers, states anytime they get caught red-handed, that the accusations are false, so no surprise here. (That same doubt should be assumed for your home country's statements.)

      However, it is known that these tears from Chinese officials are really crocodile tears. China still gets third-world shipping cost preferences due to UPU (Universal Postal Union) rulings, but they're literally the second biggest economy in the world today (by a considerable margin).

      While what I posit may represent a tenuous relationship between shipping costs and espionage, I see that China has no problem still trying to paint themselves as some agrarian Nation, which they are clearly not (anymore).

  8. deevee

    The USA spy agencies hate competition, same as the US navy & Military do.

    So hypocritical that the USA whinges when China says it might establish some bases in the Pacific, when the USA has HUNDREDS of bases already scattered around the Pacific!

  9. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Isn't that US flag 60 years out of date?

    1. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Probably because UK is just an unincorporated territory to the US.

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        He means it only has 48 stars, therefore it's missing Alaska and Hawaii who joined in 1959

  10. Trigun

    Colour me surprised

    This has been known of and said for two decades, particularly by the IT and electronics industries, with the red alert sirens going off for the last decade.

    Not that I blame China: They are doing what everyone else is doing and succeeding.

    I do have issues with our governments and companies who turned a blind eye to all of this then looked and sounded shocked and horrified when finally, FINALLY, they woke up to the fact that they'd actively empowered a competitor to build up to the point of a economic and military threat who's dominating political system & culture is antithetical to the west. Stupid.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Colour me surprised

      At the same time as building up the competitor, they've also been building up DOMESTIC groups whose dominating political systems and culture are antithetical to the West

      Part of the problem is that unlike most of the rest of the world the USA didn't actively seek to denazify its locals after WW2 and just before it entered the war it actually had more members of its Nazi party than Germany did (complete with swastika flags and Nuremberg-style rallies at Madison Square Gardens)

      American fascists simply rebranded as "anticommunists" after WW2 and Dwight Eisenhower's 1963 warning that America was on the verge of letting the military-industrial tail wag the civilian dog was ignored. Today that tail is very large and sweeps a lot before it

  11. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Bigger Picture

    But today is the first time the Heads of the FBI and MI5 have shared a public platform. ..... I’ll lead off; then hand over to Director Wray; [Director of the FBI] ...... And then there’s Cyber. ..... I’ll leave Chris to say more on cyber; his teams have led the way in taking the fight to those behind the keyboards. ...... https://www.mi5.gov.uk/news/speech-by-mi5-and-fbi

    Here's a link for those who want to hear/read/see what Chris said ...... https://www.fbi.gov/news/speeches/directors-remarks-to-business-leaders-in-london-070622

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obviously, every country does this, so the whataboutism is irrelevant.

    The big question is why are the US telling you this?

    My guess is Russia has proven to be awful at projecting a technical threat, and China is so much better a target.

    It also will help legitimise the next global proxy war after Ukraine, Taiwan.

    Politics is a dirty game, but someone has to do it!

    1. Blank Reg Silver badge

      I think china's goals for Taiwan went up in smoke with the invasion of Ukraine. They now see the real possibility of significant sanctions should they try anything. Sure the rest of the world would have to make due with not upgrading their phone every year but once the manufacturing moves out of China it's gone for good. And then the communist party will collapse as massive unemployment and starvation hit.

      1. Pete B

        Re: Regional data centres

        "And then the communist party will collapse as massive unemployment and starvation hit."

        No - that's probably when WW3 kicks off.

      2. Zolko Silver badge

        China it's gone for good. And then the communist party will collapse

        that was also the master plan with sanctions against Russia. Oil and gaz embargo and the like. If Ukraine is indeed an example, China knows that the US will not dare moving a little finger to defend Taiwan. Big mouth and all this.

        And if in 5 month the Republicans win the elections, then the US politics is going to be paralyzed making the move even easier. Add to that the cold winter in Europe without Russian gaz, and it's going to be a walk in the park for them. If they're smart enough to sabotage TSMC before, then Taiwan will be left alone cold in the dark by "the west ".

  13. Potemkine! Silver badge

    There's nothing new, China spies for decades, and so do the Five Eyes through Echelon.

    If the FBI and MI5 could provide examples, they could be more convincing.

  14. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Pot, Kettle, etc

    Let's not forget how both Britain and the USA came to be business/industrial superpowers in the first place

    China's simply demonostrating it can follow the example seat by the leading lights

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Pot, Kettle, etc

      Let's not forget how both Britain and the USA came to be business/industrial superpowers in the first place ....... Alan Brown

      Britain and the USA appear to be unable to replicate the process in order to be recognised and respected as a much more advanced intelligent superpower than was ever considered possible before and with its advanced intelligence superpowers constantly growing and progressing.

      Such then renders them at a distinct debilitating disadvantage and as prey and carrion to the vultures and business angels who can and do.

  15. Clausewitz4.0
    Devil

    Thief Crying Thief

    Some spying agencies and the FBI complaining about [ Insert any country here that is getting better than them in the game ] ?

    Really?

  16. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Hip Hip Hooray ....... Three Cheers for El Reg.

    I would just like to say how nice it is to see the return of the date and time stamp for posts on El Reg. It is a valuable aid in so many a subtle and stealthy way ...... :-) which will probably have some, who really should know better nowadays, thinking of ways to both either well use or badly abuse it.

    But how very strange that it can then so easily not appear again shortly after, as has here just been the case. Is that real actual spooky stuff, if not nonsense ? :-)

    1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      I would just like to say how nice it is …

      … to see the return of the date and time stamp for posts on El Reg.

      I’d like to see the times of articles restored next to their dates on the home page.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lol nobody gets the big picture

    this isn't stealing data to gain wealth, it is and has been for war/concurring the world.

    Xi has worked his life for this. The word China literally means middle kingdom, as in the kingdom of the world in it's center.

    This is what the world is dealing with, and if what they have done to the Uigers is any indication of what he will do to others, can't wait to see what they do to non-asians globally. White, brown, black, - don't think any of us will be in history books in 100 years.

    for the record, I don't think they will be stopped.

  18. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    Hello Mr Pot

    Hello Mr Kettle

    Are we the same?

    I think we are

    Should we hate eachother?

    Probably

  19. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Confused

    Aren't all those college scientists with their book-lerning all commies anyway?

    At least Britain has come up with an innovative Brexit plan to stop foreigners stealing British scientific research.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why MI5 and FBI?

    Those are internal security agencies. Those are the ones charged with trying to stop the Chinese spying on US/UK companies.

    It would be interesting to hear the point of view of MI6/CIA, whose job is to spy on Chinese companies. :)

    I've worked with the Chinese. It's true that they gather up as much info as they can at all levels, and they're pretty casual about it. But we also need access to their production capacity[1] and increasingly, technological know-how. Otherwise we wouldn't be having manufacturing and research facilities in China in the first place.

    [1] amongst other things to conveniently delocalise our pollution and artificially make our environmental footprint look good, as the impact is recorded where the goods are produced not where they're consumed.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quite common.

    Let me think..

    Me and several colleagues got our burner work laptops cloned at the us border, the french stopped ej200 engines and spied hard on the whole project, etc etc.

    Yes,the Chinese are traditionally worse that the us, but not by that much if military or truly important issues are at hand.

    Also, patent trolling is mostly a us generated problem, same as software patents and many other ip stuff imposed by the us.

    And do remember that the us created its industry on not respecting mostly British ip.

  22. Persona Silver badge

    Equality

    China cheats and steals at massive scale

    Of course. It's the pragmatic way of recovering from the damage inflicted by decades of Mao Zedong's policies that kept China as a peasant nation for decades.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Me old China

    The Chinese simply don’t lose at doing business.

    No matter.

    Ride the tiger at your own risk.

  24. ChoHag
    FAIL

    News at 11?

    Why do we need to pay these organisations to tell us that water is wet?

  25. plrndl
    Big Brother

    Pot? Kettle?

    How does that differ from what MI6 and the CIA have been doing since inception?

  26. Arc_Light

    My own personal experience...

    Hi folks,

    While I absolutely agree that the US has done and continues to do lots of questionable things around the world, here I would ask all those inclined to immediately start talking about pots, kettles and moral equivalency to set aside those instincts for a moment, understandable as they may be, and consider the following story.

    Some years back, my research group was funded by a large and well-known multinational whose products you have all heard of and purchased because of the work we were doing related to anti-corrosion coatings. My main point of contact was the subject matter expert (SME) on such coatings at said company. We were super excited to be working with them, things started off very well, but after some time, it got a bit...odd.

    After months of reporting with no issues, all of a sudden she was super unhappy with our work (though as far as I could tell, we were entirely on track), but could not explain what the specific problem was or why what we were doing wasn't OK. She wanted to talk directly to the technical staff doing the work, get copies of their notebooks, etc. This was an important contract given the stature of the company, but I also knew what my organization would and would not tolerate from a legal standpoint, so I had to explain that we're happy to improve or do things differently and just needed to understand the nature of her concerns better - *but*, sorry, I'm not allows to let anyone outside of my organization interact with or manage my staff or directly access their lab notebooks, the contract is between our organizations, the points of contact are defined as such, etc.

    This did *NOT* go over well.

    Long story short, I had to escalate this to the leadership of my organization. They knew that I had a lot of experience with such contracts and was not one to cause trouble, so when this contact of mine threatened to cancel our contract because we were not living up to the terms, they fully backed me up in saying that, sorry, we are, and if you don't agree, put your complaints in writing like it says in the contract of p*ss off. Of course, they were much more diplomatic than that, but that was the message. Our head of research admin indicated that she'd never dealt with someone so difficult / nasty in 30+ years of doing the job. The dispute went all the way to the top of the research side of my organization, but they were eventually able to get this very nasty contact of mine replaced on the corporate side. We finished out the contract in peace and delivered what we promised, but it was impossible to raise my new contact on the phone or via e-mail - it became pretty clear after some time that he was dodging me, which was really frustrating, because I felt we had done a good job and had some nice technology to speak about in this context - as effective as existing solutions but addressing a critical issue of consumer concern.

    The last contact I had with this very nasty person was a phone call where I first asked (since I knew my legal obligations) if she would be OK with me recording it. She agreed, then proceeded to chew me out for just generally not doing a good job. I challenged her on this point, professionally but firmly, and said, look, we did our job as described, if you have a problem, fine, but tell me what it is or, again, please kindly p*ss off, because I've had enough of your sh*t. OK, again, not the language I've used, I am always professional with clients, but that was the message. She was clearly *not* always professional with clients, because I got an earful of some of the nastiest attitude I've ever had to deal with before she simply hung up on me (in spite of the fact that she had been informed that I was recording the call, OMG :)

    I won't bore you with the details of what happened since then, but here's the final result:

    https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/chemist-sentenced-stealing-trade-secrets-economic-espionage-and-wire-fraud

    My dear friend is going to federal prison for 14 years for corporate espionage on behalf of the Chinese government.

    Now, here's the point: Yes, yes, the US does sh*tty things. Nonetheless, I challenge anyone here to find a case like this going in the opposite direction, where some American is caught in China trying to steal secrets from companies over there. In materials research, this simply does not happen, and if it *did*, you can be damn sure that the Chinese government would be raising holy hell about it, the American(s) in question would be all over Chinese state media, there'd be a whole international incident, etc., etc. They would NOT be shy about this, because this would be an absolute wet dream of a PR coup - "Look, the Americans always talk about us, but see what we caught them doing!", etc., etc. The fact that you have never in your life heard such a story tells you what you need to know - this is not a symmetric relationship by any means.

    Now, let me be really clear: I have colleagues and friends in the research community who are Chinese and who are working in China. I have advised numerous Chinese PhD students, and while not all of them came to my group with the right safety culture - this is not their fault, they simply were not trained as I was - to be honest, I cannot think of a single truly bad one, and I had plenty of really good ones. I have enjoyed their company, helped them find jobs, and done my best to assist them in kick-starting their careers. I worked for several years to rescue one from an incredibly sh*tty immigration situation that occurred as a direct result of the election of Mayor McTreason (or whatever we're calling him these days) as president and the changes in policy he pushed for at the US State Department that ended up screwing a *ton* of Chinese STEM grad students all over the country (you didn't hear about this nearly as much as all of the racist anti-China sentiment he stirred up in other ways, but it was a total disaster for many, many people). These people were not the problem, and they did not deserve to be treated that way.

    The problem is very simple: In China, the underlying social contract is that the Chinese government keeps the economy going like gangbusters and the population puts up with a lot of BS in exchange for improvements in their standard of living (which, let's be fair, have been real and substantial). Labor costs rising and making China less competitive? That's OK, just grab this minority we don't like anyway and force them to make stuff for free. Don't have anything for those folks to make that the world wants to buy? That's OK, just "acquire" the technology by any means necessary and undercut everyone else on the production side until you dominate the market. Look at solar, this is exactly what happened - a good friend no longer works in that industry because of exactly this strategy. Creative trade and monetary policies, well-hidden subsidies, etc., etc. - whatever it takes to realize this outcome, it's been done and is being done as much as possible. In some sense, they have no choice, because the moment the Chinese economy tanks and they have a billion people out of work and seeing their living standard drop, it's "up against the wall, motherf*ckers" time - the people will not stand for it, and that'll be the end of the current system and everyone who runs it. It will NOT be pretty, and they know this. This is going to happen eventually; the sorts of shenanigans we're speaking about are simply delaying the date such that the current leadership "gets theirs" and can kick the can down the road. That's all it is.

    Coming back to my own situation, I was pretty angry when I found out - we spent a year and a half with more than one FTE dedicated to that work, and I don't appreciate being lied to or having my ideas stolen. If this person would've been less of a total *sshole about it, they might've actually gotten away with it, but lucky for us, she was absolutely world-class in this regard, and clearly not so careful either. Very, very glad to see that disdain and disrespect get exactly the sort of treatment it deserves. Point is, this happens more often than we hear about, because not everyone tasked with such a mission is so "special".

    In any case, just wanted to share that as a reminder - anti-US cynicism develops for legitimate reasons, and I definitely have my share of stones to throw (as an American expat, I am so disappointed with and worried about my country these days), but here I can say from first-hand experience that there really is a difference.

  27. Ashto5

    Sounds like jealousy to me

    Jealous much ?

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