FBI says Chinese spying, theft of US agricultural biotechnology is 'a growing threat'

| | June 16, 2017

As a group of visiting scientists prepared to board a plane in Hawaii that would take them back home to China, U.S. customs agents found rice seeds in their luggage. Those seeds are likely to land at least one scientist in federal prison.

Agriculture today is a high-tech business, but as that technology has developed, so has the temptation to take shortcuts and steal trade secrets that could unlock huge profits. The FBI calls agricultural economic espionage "a growing threat" and some are worried that biotech piracy can spell big trouble for a dynamic and growing U.S. industry.


Had they succeeded in stealing the gene-spliced rice, the scientists may have been able to reverse-engineer it and ultimately undercut [US company] Ventria's market. [Ventria President and CEO Scott] Deeter says it could have driven his company out of business.


"Where the commodity in question is grown in open fields, it's sometimes difficult," [Jason] Griess [the assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa] says.


Theft of intellectual property costs the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars each year, according to a recent report from the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, a Washington, D.C.-based ad-hoc panel formed to study intellectual property theft. China, the authors say, is the biggest offender.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Spies In The Field: As Farming Goes High-Tech, Espionage Threat Grows


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