Rob Strayer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Cyber and International Communications Policy, Explains What International IP Espionage Looks Like

Friday, Jun 26th, 2020

Rob Strayer is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Cyber and International Communications Policy. His duties include development of policy as it pertains to international cybersecurity, as well as leading dialogue on related subjects with foreign governments. Prior to his current position, Mr. Strayer was general counsel for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Read his bio here.

What International IP Espionage Looks Like

“So, we're seeing threats from a couple different angles. First, we're seeing some standards bodies being altered in the way that countries are approaching it. They're seeking not to have the best technology or the best solutions win, but in some cases they're seeking to influence the process and politicize it unnecessarily so that we'll see a thumb on the scale toward a certain outcome that may not be the best technology. In addition, in some cases we're seeing countries approach fields in subsidizing companies or otherwise altering the playing field in ways that will not ensure that the best competitors win. For example, in China we've seen a set of unfair practices including the theft of intellectual property and trade secrets. Sometimes that's been enabled through cyber means—that is the Ministry of State Security being involved in intellectual property theft. 

“The United States along with 13 other countries in December of 2018 said that China had been involved in massive theft of intellectual property from many countries.”

The United States along with 13 other countries in December of 2018 said that China had been involved in massive theft of intellectual property from many countries. This was known as the cloud hopper set of attacks where they steal terabytes of data, in some cases the entire databases of some companies. They then used that information to provide to their own companies. So, this form of economic espionage is very harmful to global trade and to the prosperity of companies who are following fair practices in the way they conduct their business.”


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