How Countries Access American Technology

July 4, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Sean Gallagher took a look at the different ways that foreign militaries have gained access to American technology. Highlights include:

  • Countries have a history of stealing American technology. In the 1980s Toshiba sold technology that allowed the Soviet Union to make silent propellers for its navy. The cost to US military capability from that is estimated to be around $30 billion.
  • After the Tiananmen square uprisings the US government introduced controls on the export of military technology to China.
  • These days military technological superiority lies within software. It is these lines of code that are the most lucrative, and billions of dollars of taxpayer money go into developing it.
  • In addition to espionage, China works with countries to examine downed US aircraft. For example during the operation to kill Osama bin Laden a US chopper crashed and the remains recovered by Pakistan. Chinese intelligence was given access to this aircraft by Pakistani authorities.
  • But the simplest method is just to buy it. Because the profits can be so alluring, and because the punishment doled out for being caught are comparably insignificant, companies continue to skirt around American arms export control rules, and sell sensitive technology to China.

To read the entire three page report, and to find out how China enticed a company to go down the rabbit hole, some landmark cases that the Department of Justice is investigating and has prosecuted, the technological underpinnings of the prototype J-20 Chinese stealth fighter, the role that Iran plays, the problem of dual-use, and what happened when shareholders found out that one company was illegally exporting technology to China, click here.

Source: Ars Technica