Characteristically, now that Chinese hackers have demonstrated their willingness and ability to threaten Western intellectual property, the Wall Street Journal has pricked up its ears:
We hope China’s behavior proves self-defeating. Economic transactions are about mutual benefit, and nobody should continue doing business with a counterparty who continually rips them off. The signs are that the U.S. government may finally be getting up the nerve to respond with more than quiet, feckless pleading.
Better defenses are imperative. Naming and shaming the Chinese entities responsible, as Mandiant has done, are also important, and targeted sanctions against individuals and institutions will probably be needed. Chinese officials need to understand that if they want their current economic relationship with the U.S. to continue, they must stop their cyberattacks.
I honestly have never understood the idea of equating “intellectual property” with tangible property. However, if you take that idea seriously isn’t the effective response to the Chinese government’s either allowing or actively aiding its citizens in stealing property that belongs to Americans and there is no other means of enforcing those property rights, letting Americans steal Chinese property? One day a week could be “Steal Chinese” day. It would give an entirely different meaning to “Chinese takeaway”.
To illustrate why I think that the mild, temperate remedies suggested by the WSJ are meaningless nonsense, let me ask one straightforward question: why is Apple still doing business with Chinese companies?