By David Jackson
The Obama administration unveiled a new strategy Wednesday to combat the theft of U.S. trade secrets, amid reports of a cybertheft ring operated by the Chinese military.
The administration's Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets also comes a week after President Obama signed an executive order designed to help U.S. computer networks guard against cyber attacks.
"Trade secret theft can cripple a company's competitive advantage in foreign markets, diminish export prospects around the globe, and put American jobs in jeopardy," said Victoria Espinel, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.
The strategy includes diplomatic engagement with nations where incidents of trade secret theft are high, working with industries on the best ways to protect their secrets, and stepped up prosecutions of business espionage.
The plan has been months in development, but came out the same week that a U.S. firm accused a once-secret Chinese military unit of years of cyberattacks against more than 140 U.S. companies.
The Chinese government denied involvement in cybertheft, and said it has been targeted by hackers traced to the United States.
The new Obama strategy did not single out any perpetrator.
"The administration will continue to act vigorously to combat the theft of American trade secrets that could be used by foreign companies or foreign governments to gain an unfair commercial advantage over U.S. companies," Espinel said.