By SARUN SAELEE
Intellectual property is an important issue in this globalizing world after the spread of pirated products ranging from brand-name garments, music, movies to computer software. Certain industries are indeed affected.
Piracy is a crime. If producing counterfeit goods by copying from original ones can cause significant damages to product owners, stealing their information does not make any difference. If the thief is a big nation, this indeed will be a colossal international problem, sparking a plethora of consequences.
The U.S. recently spent about $398 billion to examine who or which countries are its biggest information thief. The result concluded that China, its key economic rival, was on the list to steal sensitive economic and commercial information of the country, including pharmaceuticals, information-technology, military equipment as well as advanced materials and manufacturing processes.
U.S. intelligence officials hence called China the biggest perpetrators of economic espionage.
Quoted from Bloomberg, Mike Rogers, chairing the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, said the information theft by China was a threat to its national security and hurt businesses and workers in the U.S. as well as the global economy.
Nevertheless, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Embassy in the U.S., Wang Baodong, dismissed the allegation, saying that Beijing itself had also been opposing any forms of unlawful cyberspace activities. He ascribed the country’s rapid development and prosperity to the Chinese people’s hard work and the enhanced economic and trade cooperation with other countries.
Despite the refusal of China, the U.S. corporations and computer security specialists reported an evidence of the network intrusion through Internet Protocol addresses from China. Still, it was unsure if the cyber-attack was supported by the Chinese government due to the increased use of technologies for the time being.
The U.S. authorities are working hard with organizations to develop cyber-security plans while use of smart phones and cloud computing is expected to pose greater dangers for hacking attacks.
The U.S. has been active in piracy and information theft suppression with many well-known efforts, including the Priority Watch List to protect its businesses owning such intellectual properties. The list has been pressuring governments of countries included in the list to take action or risk their valuable trade relationship.
However, now the relationship between the U.S. and China is somewhat complicated. While the U.S. is putting a lot of pressure against China in many issues, including piracy and information theft suppression in the Priority Watch List as it usually does, it remains questionable if these attempts will yield fruitful results for the U.S. itself.
The world knows that the hidden dragon, who might have more up its sleeves, is now the largest single holder of U.S. government debt, with 24.64 percent of all foreign-held U.S. Treasury securities as of September 2011, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Will it be possible for the U.S. to put any pressures against its own biggest creditor, who is helping the U.S. extend its debilitating economic breath?
The world knows that the oriental dragon, who bows to no one and prefers negotiations behind closed doors, might deem this serious allegation a big slap on its face or an insult against its pride. Will Washington’s aggressive approaches be able to pressurize Beijing to press ahead with piracy and information theft suppression?
The world knows that the center of power and wealth is gradually shifting and is shared by the superpowers of the east. Will the U.S., also known as the world police, be able to catch its alleged biggest cyber thief or China, who apparently is holding a trump card?
The game of cops and robbers continues.