Accused Chinese cyber-spy on trial for stealing Motorola secrets

Ex-Motorola software engineer Hanjuan Jin says she's not guilty

Software engineer Hanjuan Jin, accused of stealing thousands of confidential and proprietary technical documents from Motorola to share with competitors and the People's Republic of China, is expected to stand trial this week in Chicago.

BACKGROUND: China slammed widely in U.S. media on security, human rights

According to a Bloomberg report, Jin, who has pled innocent, has waived her right to a jury trial and will be tried by U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo in Chicago starting Monday. Jin, now 41, was arrested by U.S. Customs officials on Feb. 28, 2007, at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, ready to depart via a one-way ticket to China. Along with $30,000, she was carrying more than 1,000 electronic and paper documents from her former employer -- she had just quit Motorola -- as well as Chinese documents for military telecommunications technology, according to the FBI affidavit filed in court as part of the case.

That's the heart of the feds' criminal lawsuit against Jin, a U.S. citizen born in China, who was released on $50,000 bail. Since Jin's arrest at the airport, the case has taken four years to go to trial in what has been a winding skein of accusations about her. Earlier legal documents filed by Motorola itself and made public paint a startling picture of the influence that software engineers had in Jin's working environment at Motorola and how Jin allegedly gained unauthorized network access to Motorola source code and other valuable trade secrets.

According to the Bloomberg account today, Jin is on trial for economic espionage for stealing mobile telecommunications technology for the benefit of China's military and for a Beijing business, Kai Sun News (Beijing) Technology Company, also called SunKaisens.

The Jin trial comes at a turning point in Motorola's history. In August, Google announced its intent to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. In late September, the U.S. Department of Justice asked Google for more information about its planned purchase of Motorola Mobility, a move that could slow down the planned acquisition, Google said.

The Jin trial also comes as the U.S. government is lashing out at the government of China and China-based firms, for alleged cyber-espionage against U.S.-based businesses and government agencies. The U.S. government last week issued a report blasting China for stealing information for economic gain.

"Chinese actors are the world's most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage," the report from the office of the National Counterintelligence Executive said. The report said China's intelligence agencies often leverage people who have inside access to corporate networks to gain trade secrets and copy them to removable media.


Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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