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Stolen Technology, It's not if, Its when

Arthur Hanson

Well-known member

If the secrets to nuclear weapons could be stolen even with drastic penalties, so to can any technology secrets when it is far easier to transfer information in numerous ways than it has ever been. All that can be done is restrict the products made with unauthorized technologies and fines/sanctions that make it uneconomic. Since very advanced technologies require massive markets to make a good return, restricting access to markets and large fines for the finished products may be the best answer. Any thoughts or comments appreciated.
Just a few thoughts:

- A lot of IP theft can be stolen by inference — looking at existing papers, studies, etc. that include clues about what became protected IP or protected information (clearance required, etc). Sometimes “massive IP theft” is really just someone getting one piece of the puzzle when they already have the rest. (I.e. easy to steal).

- Governments will often be slow/late to classify IP; such as in the case of Atomic secrets. A lot of paper and basic research was already publicly known before the ‘secret sauces’ were cooked up. Everyone knew what the ingredients were, just not how to make the ingredients ‘ready’ for use.

- Governments are really good at hiding the true costs of advanced technologies — obfuscation through subsidies of all kinds, printing money, incentives, etc. So even if there is no viable market for ‘advanced IP’, a country still can find a way to get that technology in-house, because if they don’t have it, they’ll be two steps behind the NEXT technology.

And lastly - culturally, while I am a fan of and was raised in a culture of the importance of protecting IP…. Other people may look at it as leveling the playing field, or helping with responsible growth (i.e. should developing countries really all go through fossil fuels and no go straight to green tech?), or just outright don’t have any taboos about IP theft.