Chinese Intelligence Stole Motorola Innovation Secrets
A federal indictment unsealed Monday shows a Chinese telcom stole the newest technology from Illinois-based Motorola Solutions Inc.
A Chinese-born American software developer, Hanjuan Jin, was in the centre of stealing secrets from Motorola. Jin, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was acquitted of more serious charges of economic espionage. He has already been in prison since 2012 for stealing U.S. trade secrets.
At trial, prosecutors said Jin “led a double life” as an outwardly loyal company worker plotting to steal Motorola secrets. Even before downloading Motorola files over several days in 2007, prosecutors said Jin already worked for China-based Sun Kaisens which had strong links also with another Chinese-established shell firm in the U.S.
A new document revealed that the Chicago filing charges Hytera Communications Corp., Ltd., with conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, alleging it recruited several Motorola employees as part of the scheme. They are accused of accessing Motorola’s internal database, then described and even joked about plans to use the stolen material at Hytera.
The secrets regard digital mobile radio technology Motorola developed for walkie-talkie type features on cellphones. For over a decade, from 2007 to 2020, Hytera used thousands of stolen documents to accelerate its development of similar features, the indictment says.
In a 2008 email cited in the indictment, one unnamed individual writes to another that, We are trying to grab whatever we can. … Do you have anything in mind that you need while we are still here?” In another, someone writes “haha” after describing Hytera as copying Motorola technology. One email expresses concern, saying “some of our lies may cause problems once Motorola finds out.
If Found Guilty Chinese Face Minimum 10 Years In Prison
Hytera’s website says the company has 10 development centers in China, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and Canada. The Shenzhen, China, also says some of its two-way radios are being used by security at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The 21-count indictment also charges Hytera and individual suspects with possession or attempted possession of stolen trade secrets. The heavily redacted document doesn’t identify other charged defendants and a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago announcing the charges doesn’t say if any reside in the U.S.
If ever convicted, Hytera would face a criminal fine of three times the value of the stolen trade secrets and individual defendants could go to at least 10 years in prison.