Last week wasn’t a good one for my alma mater; “a federal judge convicted Hanjuan Jin, a 41-year-old Notre Dame, Chinese-American alum, of stealing confidential information from Motorola after she was caught carrying a one-way ticket to China, $31,000 and 1,000 Motorola documents (stored digitally.” The article on the Atlantic jokes that Motorola couldn’t have had much to steal to begin with (i.e. the Razr isn’t exactly high-tech), but there’s actually quite a lot Motorla has that the Chinese want. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise as this is why Google recently acquired Motorla… it’s just that they’re interested in platforms not head sets. This isn’t the only report of the Chinese hacking American phone companies; Nortel was also recently hacked.
The Chinese have tried to build their own cellular network, but it’s terrible so they are very much interested in stealing Motorola’s tower technology, especially China Mobile which has their own 3G standard called TD-SCDMA. It was developed to avoid paying royalties to Western companies. Only problem is that is sucks. It’s 3G service is so bad most people can only access the internet from their iPhones if they’re at a WiFi hot spot! Unlike the US however, numbers don’t transfer over so no one wants to give up their China Mobile number so they so they buy the iphones from China Unicom (pretty good 3G service but crappy voice coverage area) and then use them on CM even though it means they get super slow internet service and basically need to rely on wifi. How crazy is that!! No wonder they’re paying for our secrets!
At the end of the day, I’m not so worried about China overtaking the US… as long as we keep coming up with the ideas and they keep copying, we’ll always be in the lead. BUT we really need some better security. And company’s will have to think long and hard about whether their employees really are trust worthy.
Also, see my earlier post on doubling down on SIM cards. Thanks NYW for the article tip!