Research theft is a matter of national security and the FBI is committed to stopping it. It has engaged in email campaigns, investigations, lecture seminars on the effects of this theft and also engaged other educational stakeholders and its allies in a bid to stop illegal transfer of research resources.
FBI is warning universities on dangers posed by Chinese researchers who they believe may engage in research theft. Agents have taken measures such as giving out pamphlets to these universities, holding lectures that highlight this problem and briefed administrators about the possibilities of espionage against them. They have asked all research institute to be on high alert because the stealing of research data is a matter of national security that they are taking seriously.
Research theft investigations
The FBI has also been quick to distance themselves with allegations they are targeting researchers of China nationality by saying that this is not a targeted campaign against any group. They have said that these are just steps necessary to be taken by research institutions to protect their project research.
The University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign was emailed by the FBI asking them if their research had been stolen by Huawei. The email which had been directed to the vice chancellor for research at the institution focused on whether the intellectual property of the school had been compromised. An internal investigation by the university however found that there was no stolen research in the institution. They responded to the email with a no and the FBI agents stated that they expected such a response but they had to make sure that their research was not compromised.
FBI agents have also asked emails from the University of Washington researchers of two researchers at the university. They also asked Oklahoma State University if they had researchers on specific areas and also inquired about the misuse of research funds. This heightened scrutiny by the FBI as a precautionary measure according to the agency.
The US government has been at the forefront of warning its allies about national security dangers that Huawei poses. Back at home, they have been cracking down on what they describe a threat to its national security from the same company. The increased concern about stolen research is part of ways to combat Huawei and research theft from Chinese nationals.
FBI will remain vigilant in its quest to ensure that universities are not taken advantage of by people who may be engaged in espionage and research theft in the US. They have made it clear that they will not allow universities to be compromised or their research stolen. This is because they consider such malice as economic sabotage. Therefore, the email campaigns, multiple lectures in seminars and consultations with school administrators on this issue will continue.