The more one shares, the more one undermines a future patent application and a system that encourages privatization [profit for the few, suffering for the many]
Al Jazeera, 3 August 2013
Signed into law by President Bill Clinton, the Economic Espionage Act of 1995 makes it a federal offence punishable by up to 15 years in prison for someone to “knowingly” deliver a “trade secret” into the hands of a foreign government or institution. As written, that means even if someone had the most honest of intentions – hey, maybe people outside of America get cancer too – they would still be considered a spy for letting a scientific secret cross a body of water. If that secret is ever disclosed, it will be disclosed on corporate America’s terms. And it will make someone a lot of money.
Consider the case of Hua Jun Zhao. A researcher at Wisconsin Medical College, Zhao was recently accused of stealing several vials of a potentially cancer-fighting compound he was working on with the intent of passing it on to a university in China, allegedly as his own work. If true, Zhao certainly committed a crime – theft – and perhaps intended to commit academic fraud. But when the FBI came knocking, the $8,000 in missing goods was treated as espionage. Zhao, according to the bureau, was a spy.
In a press release, the FBI alleged that the Chinese native used his position to “illegally acquire patented cancer research material and to have taken steps to provide that material to Zhejiang University in China”. Among the goals served by his arrest, the bureau stated, was protecting America’s “competitiveness in an age of globalisation”. By law, the espionage case had to first be approved by a top official at the Justice Department.