US government drops espionage charges against US physics professor

US government drops espionage charges against US physics professor

[JURIST] The US Attorney’s Office [official website] on Friday dismissed all charges against the former chairman of Temple University’s physics department, Xi Xiaoxing [University profile], for allegedly sharing American-made schematics of a device used in superconductor research to Chinese scientists. The charges were based on emails of technological specifications of the device, known as a pocket heater, that the professor sent during his time as chairman of the physics department at Temple. The US Attorney’s Office declined [AP report] to comment on the matter other than the decision to dismiss the charges was based on “new information.” The motion comes after a presentation by the professors’ attorney that demonstrated the information he exchanged with China had little to no commercial value and did not involve restricted technology. Xi’s attorney argued that the government misunderstood the science and Xi’s attorney presented several experts that testified on behalf of Xi.

Surveillance and data collection have been a worldwide topic of discussion, particularly after Edward Snowden leaked top-secret [JURIST report] National Security Agency (NSA) documents in 2013. In August the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a ruling [JURIST report] that had blocked the NSA from obtaining call detail records from US citizens. In July 2014 the German government summoned [JURIST report] the US ambassador to Germany, John Emerson, after a man was arrested who claimed to be a US spy working surveillance throughout the country. In January 2014 the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) found [JURIST report] that the NSA’s phone surveillance program was illegal. In June 2013 the American Civil Liberties Union, in conjunction with the New York Civil Liberties Union, filed suit [JURIST report] against the NSA challenging its phone data collection. Countries like Brazil and Germany have passed legislation [JURIST report] aimed at eliminating privacy invasions due to excessive surveillance programs and data collection.