Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Global Impact: Bi-Partisan Senators Introduce Deter Cyber Theft Act

According to, a group of senior Republican and Democratic senators proposed a new law on Tuesday (May 7) to clarify the threats global companies face US companies both at home and abroad.

Four powerful senators, including Democrats Carl Levin and Jay Rockefeller and Republicans John McCain and Tom Coburn, have joined together to launch the Deter Cyber Theft Act.

COMMENT: Unlike some counter-espionage and trade-secret infringement legislation that has been proposed by the US Congress in the past, the new proposed law is focused more on enabling the Federal government to be much more transparent and candid in terms of the PRC's aggressive and very open theft of US trade-secrets, both strategic and commercial.

US lawmakers have emphasized that US companies suffered estimated losses in 2012 of more than US$300 billion due to trade-secret theft, much of it due to unprecedented Chinese espionage operations. 

Specifically, the proposed Act will require the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to compile an annual report that includes a list of nations that engage in economic or industrial espionage in cyberspace against US firms or individuals. It would include a priority watch list of the worst offenders.

Senator McCain, a powerful voice in the Senate on armed services and foreign affairs issues, said the bill would give the President authority to target those who try to benefit from cyber-crime, including the blocking of imports of products containing stolen US technology or products made by state-owned enterprises of nations on the DNI's priority watch list that are similar to items identified as being made using stolen technology.

Unfortunately, though, there is very little that the US government can do to prevent the theft of corporate trade-secrets and the infringement of intellectual property controlled by US companies.

The reality is that Western companies engaged in global exports and imports must take internal security much more seriously than it does, institute policies and procedures designed to prevent economic espionage of US trade-secrets and begin polygraphing ethnic Chinese employees and contractors who perceive their allegiance to China above that of the US, even if they are Green Card holders or naturalized US citizens. Only then will US companies be permitted to function on a level playing field.