High-tech treacheryFormer and current researchers at Posdata, an IT company, have been detained by prosecutors over allegations that they tried to sell corporate secrets on next generation wireless technology to a U.S. rival. While some of the information has already been leaked, the researchers were detained before core technologies, such as the main blueprint for the technology, were handed over. The technology, known as WiBro, is a wireless broadband standard being developed by the Korean telecom industry. It is considered by many to be the technology to shape the future of wireless transmission because it allows faster data transmission than existing wired systems. Last year, the U.S. telecom company Sprint announced that it will launch pilot WiBro services. The WiBro market is expected to eventually create a 24 trillion won ($25.7 billion) industry and 270,000 new jobs. And yet we almost lost this valuable technology.
This is a problem on the rise. Some 237 cases of industrial technology leaks were disclosed last year, compared to only 39 in 1999.
Only recently, employees at Kia Motors were indicted on charges of illegally transferring key technologies to China. The methods of corporate espionage are evolving as well, making it even harder to detect and prevent such illegal activities.
We cannot let such criminal acts continue. They not only inflict harm on the company in question but compromise the entire country. First, companies should reinforce their corporate security to prevent such espionage. It is true that many IT companies in Korea have weak security systems despite the modern technology they possess. Awareness of security should be heightened at all levels with tighter measures widely implemented by technology companies.
Overseas technology leaks are a form of treachery. According to the National Intelligence Service, 71 percent of those indicted for international corporate espionage answered that money was their main reason for committing the act. Those guilty of leaking key Korean industrial technology secrets overseas should be disciplined severely. The government should also reinforce its investigative powers and facilities and redouble efforts to prevent and expose corporate espionage.