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UNIT 12:
Trade Secret Theft and Economic Espionage

Cybercrime, Cyberterrorism, and Digital Law Enforcement
Professor K. A. Taipale (bio) (contact)

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UNIT 12:
Trade Secret Theft and Economic Espionage


What is a trade secret? Stealing proprietary information? What is proprietary and what is "fair use" in an information rich environment?



CASEBOOK: David J. Loundy, COMPUTER CRIME, INFORMATION WARFARE, AND ECONOMIC ESPIONAGE, Carolina Academic Press (2003) (ISBN:0890891109) read:

Chapter 14, Trade Secret Theft, pp. 479-542 (US v. Farraj, Stampede v. May, Ford v. Lane, Rockwell v. DEV, VMI v. Autodesk, Pepsico v. Redmond, Earthweb v. Schlack), and

Chapter 15, Economic Espionage, pp. 543-590 (EEA 1996, US v. Krumrei, US v. Hsu / US v. Ho, US v. Martin).



18 U.S.C. § 1832. Theft of trade secrets.

18 U.S.C. § 1831. Economic Espionage.

TELEPHONE RECORDS AND PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT of 2006 (making it illegal to use a false identity or other fraudulent means - "pretexting" - to gain access to an individual's phone records).



USDOJ Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS), Economic Espionage Act Information.

John R. Wilke, "Two Silicon Valley Cases Raise Fears of Chinese Espionage," Wall St. J. (Jan. 15, 2003).

Melinda Liu, "High-Tech Hunger, The Goal: Make China a technology powerhouse-critics say by any means necessary. Inside Beijing's '863 program,'" Newsweek Intl. (Jan. 16, 2006).

Rachel Conrad, "Judge to hear motions in Silicon Valley economic espionage case," AP (Oct. 19, 2003).

Rachel Conrad, "Judge considers dismissal in Silicon Valley espionage case," AP (Oct. 21, 2003).

Rachel Conrad, "Economic Espionage Case to Go To Trial," AP (Nov. 10, 2003).

Compare "Hacker 'illwill' gets 2 year prison term," (Jan. 30, 2006) with Keven Poulsen, "Microsoft Tricks Hacker into Jail," Wired News (Jan. 27, 2006).

Bill Gertz, "Enemies," Wash. Times (Sep. 18, 2006).

"Bugging the Boardroom," BBC News (Sep. 5, 2006).

David A. Kaplan, "Intrigue in High Places," Newsweek (Sept. 5, 2006) (To catch a leaker, investigators working for Hewlett-Packard acquired the home-phone records of its board of directors through pretexting).

Jordan Robertson, "HP Spy Probe Investigator Pleads Guilty," AP (Jan. 12, 2007) ("Federal prosecutors scored their first victory in the investigation of Hewlett-Packard's ill-fated boardroom spying probe ... when a low-level private investigator pleaded guilty to identity theft and conspiracy charges.")

US DOJ Press Release, "Former Chinese National Charged with Stealing Military Application Trade Secrets from Silicon Valley Firm to Benefit Governments of Thailand, Malaysia, and China," (Dec. 14, 2006) ("Third Foreign Economic Espionage Indictment in the United States Since the Enactment of Economic Espionage Act of 1996; Source Code Used for Military Combat Simulation and Banned for Export Without License").

US DOJ Press Release, "Two Men Plead Guilty to Stealing Trade Secrets from Silicon Valley Companies to Benefit China" (Dec. 14, 2006) ("First Conviction in the Country for Foreign Economic Espionage").

David Cho and Ariana Eunjung Cha, "Chinese Spying Is a Threat, Panel Says," Washington Post (Nov. 15, 2007) ("Spying by China in the United States is the biggest threat to keeping American technology secrets, a bipartisan government panel concluded in a report released yesterday.")

"MI5 alert on China’s cyberspace spy threat," The Times (Dec. 1, 2007) ("In an unprecedented alert, the Director-General of MI5 sent a confidential letter to 300 chief executives and security chiefs at banks, accountants and legal firms this week warning them that they were under attack from “Chinese state organisations”).

"Chinese Hackers Accused of Attacking Shell, Rolls Royce: Britain security agency warns of international spies in cyberspace," Washington Post (Dec. 3, 2007).

Ariana Eunjung Cha, "Even Spies Embrace China's Free Market: U.S. Says Some Tech Thieves Are Entrepreneurs, Not Government Agents," Washington Post D:01 (Feb. 12, 2008) ("The case ... charges of theft of trade secrets and the more serious charge of economic espionage to benefit a foreign government, is one of more than a dozen involving the alleged sale or attempted sale of purloined technology to China that are making their way through U.S. courts this year. ... But in many cases ... the question of involvement by the Chinese state is tricky to pin down because the line between where the government starts and ends is constantly shifting. U.S. officials say there is an underground bazaar of people trying to sell information to the Chinese government and military but that no one knows how many deals are made or whether the government is soliciting such business.").



Hedieh Nasheri, ECONOMIC ESPIONAGE AND INDUSTRIAL SPYING (Cambridge Univ. Press 2005) (ISBN:0521543711).


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Course Outline/Class Units

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  1. Overview, What is Cybercrime?
  2. Computer Intrusions and Attacks (Unauthorized Access)
  3. Computer Viruses, Time Bombs, Trojans, Malicious Code (Malware)
  4. Online Fraud and Identity Theft; Intellectual Property Theft; Virtual Crime
  5. Online Vice: Gambling; Pornography; Child Exploitation
  6. International Aspects and Jurisdiction
  7. Infrastructure and Information Security; Risk Management
  8. Investigating Cybercrime: Digital Evidence and Computer Forensics
  9. Interception, Search and Seizure, and Surveillance
  10. Information Warfare, Cyberterrorism, and Hacktivism
  11. Terrorism, Radicalization, and The War of Ideas
  12. Trade Secret Theft and Economic Espionage
  13. National Security
  14. Case Study: CALEA, VoIP

Course Information



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