This is important. According to a story in the New York Times today, the Chinese Army is back in the business of hacking into American computer systems to steal intellectual property and government security secrets. After a three month lull that coincided with a tongue lashing by the Obama administration the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) unit 61398 is back in business and already operating at 60 to 70 percent of its pre-stand down effectiveness.
The story discloses how Coca Cola lost a bid to acquire China Huiyuan Juice Group after its systems were hacked and the Chinese presumably got Coke’s strategy documents. The article also documents intrusions into defense suppliers and companies that have detailed information about American pipeline and electrical grid infrastructure.
It is clear that the Chinese aren’t going to stop this behavior with a polite request and the U.S. government has to take more direct action to make its displeasure known.
From a broader perspective, this isn’t how business partners are supposed to act. China has to figure out if it wants to have a productive relationship not only with America but with the West in general. For whatever reasons, the West and the Soviet Union chose confrontation, which resulted in a strategy of containment and by 1989 the Russians were barely functioning as an economy which resulted in the breakdown of the USSR.
If the Chinese want to go that route we should know and we should act accordingly. First step, Tweet this, pass it on and make some noise. We’ve lost a lot of factories to overseas competition but if we lose our IP we’re toast.