China hackers arrested following request from US law enforcement News
China hackers arrested following request from US law enforcement

[JURIST] At the request of US government officials, Chinese authorities last month arrested individual hackers that allegedly misappropriated commercial secrets from US firms with the intention to sell proprietary information to state-owned entires within the the People’s Republic of China [government website]. In the weeks leading up to the arrests, US intelligence and law enforcement personnel compiled a list [Washington Post report] of hackers that the US wanted to be detained. The arrests happened a few days before the US and China announced [Reuters report] a joint cyber security agreement on September 25, during a visit from China President Xi Jinping [White House fact sheet]. The agreement provides that the US and China would cooperate “with requests to investigate cybercrimes” and “collect electronic evidence” and to mitigate malicious cyber-activities coming from their territory. In late August, it was reported that the US was in the process of developing economic sanctions [Washington Post report] against China over alleged cybertheft of the trade secrets of US companies. Cybersecurity experts have analyzed [Brookings Institution report] the impact that the agreement will have on cybercrime and enforcement. The top US intelligence official informed the Senate Armed Forces Committee that the agreement is a good first step [Reuters report], but the agreement was lacking in specific penalties for violators and enforcement against cyber criminals remains very difficult.

In recent years, the prosecution of cyber crime has become a major priority for governments around the world, but enforcement remains a challenge. In August, Chinese police announced that approximately 15,000 were arrested [JURIST report] in connection with alleged cyber crimes. Over 7,400 cyber crime related cases have been investigated across the country and they include online fraud, illegal sale of personal data, and hacking. The arrests followed a six-month operation to aggressively eliminate threats to the internet which began in China in the month of July. In an article published last month, JURIST Guest Columnist Kevin Govern of Ave Maria School of Law discusses the latest cyber security agreement between China and the US [JURIST op-ed]. In early September, the US Attorney’s Office dismissed all charges [JURIST report] against the former chairman of Temple University’s physics department, Xi Xiaoxing, for allegedly sharing American-made schematics of a device used in superconductor research to Chinese scientists.