Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Chinese Industrial Spies Cast a Wider Net

One of the emerging trends in today's expanding cyber-espionage landscape has been China's emergence as the leading practitioner of economic cyber-espionage.  What does the trajectory of Chinese economic espionage look like, and where do we still see barriers to the establishment of effective norms barring the practice before it becomes common among developing countries that will soon possess their own cyber capabilities?

Cyber economic espionage is the theft of intellectual property, trade secrets, and business intelligence to gain an advantage in negotiations.  It is distinguishable from more traditional, and more accepted, forms of political espionage.  However, practical enforcement against economic espionage based on intent is hard, and such differentiation implies that economic well-being and national security may not be deeply linked.  Samantha Ravich, a Senior Advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, argues that, "This cyber-enabled economic espionage is part of Beijing's overall campaign to weaken the US economy and, by so doing, the country's ability to both fund and field defense capabilities."

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