The Justice Department in the United States has announced a series of criminal cases that track the illegal flow of sensitive technology to foreign adversaries, including Russia, China and Iran. The cases highlight the work of a task force created this year to disrupt the transfer of assets to foreign countries. The department is committed to preventing advanced tools from falling into the hands of adversaries who threaten not only national security but also democratic values everywhere. One case accuses a former Apple software engineer of taking proprietary data related to self-driving cars before his last day at the company in 2018 and then boarding a flight from San Francisco to China on the night that FBI agents were conducting a search of his home. Other cases revealed have resulted in arrests, including Liming Li who was arrested earlier this month on charges of stealing thousands of confidential files from his California employer for Chinese competitors’ business use.
The Justice Department also unsealed a separate criminal case charging a Chinese national with conspiring to transmit isostatic graphite, which can be used at the edge of intercontinental ballistics, to Iran in violation of US sanctions. Two Russian nationals were also arrested in Arizona this month on charges of conspiring to ship aircraft parts to Russian airlines.
The Disruptive Technology Strike Force was launched earlier this year by both the Justice and Commerce departments as a way to prevent US adversaries from acquiring sensitive technology.
These alleged thefts highlight growing concerns over intellectual property theft by foreign entities seeking an advantage over American companies and industries. It’s important for companies and individuals alike to take measures protecting their trade secrets while being mindful about sharing information with employees or third-party vendors who may not have proper clearance or authorization.
As per the report, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said “We are committed to doing everything possible to prevent these advanced tools from falling into the hands of adversaries who wield them in a way that threatens not only our national security but also democratic values everywhere.” It’s clear that the United States will continue to take strong action against those who steal sensitive technology and threaten national security.