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Russia, China engaging in industrial espionage

DDP/The Local · 22 May 2010, 14:31

Published: 22 May 2010 14:31 GMT+02:00

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Studies show that the German economy loses around €50 billion a year as a consequence, Burkhard Even, head of the counterintelligence section of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, told the audience at a recent security forum in Bonn.

The spying is a mix of official, intelligence service agents, and unofficial business spooks, he said.

Even estimated that of the 500 registered staff of the Russian embassy in Berlin, at least 150 were working as intelligence agents, disguised as diplomats or journalists.

He said that more than four million Russians live in the country as a whole, leaving him unable to guess at how many agents might be hidden amongst them.

Russian intelligence services have been instructed by the government to supply their industry with the most modern know-how to save money developing Russian products, one German official told the forum.

Russian firms doing deals with foreign companies have to contact intelligence services before making firm agreements, the forum heard, giving the government agencies control over investments and businesses deals.

Both Russian and Chinese intelligence services are particularly focussing on German companies experiencing financial difficulties, sending agents posing as businessmen to offer sweet deals to firms operating in high-tech areas.

There are around 80,000 Chinese people living in Germany, Even said, many of whom are commercial spies. China is also buying into, or taking over companies completely, in order to get access to new technological developments.

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He also described more underhand methods which he said were often employed by agents posing as visiting business delegations or even trainees who might use mini cameras to take pictures in factories, or secretly copy data.

He said the Chinese were mostly active in the electronic sector. Some reports suggest the Chinese intelligence services have up to a million agents across the world collecting technical and business data to support their industries.

Small and medium-sized companies in Germany are the worst protected against such efforts, particularly when they come via the internet, said Even. But the weakest link is always the innocence of staff, he stressed, calling for companies who suspect a spy attack to contact his office.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:07 May 22, 2010 by Fruitkok
The biggest source of espionage is still the USA, don't forget that!. And probably the French are morally capable of backstabbing their allies as well.
16:22 May 22, 2010 by Eastard
Interesting comment on USA... Care to qualify it...? Remember, it was the USA that kept Germany from becomming another Russian provence.

China now has enought money to expand both in intellectual property theift and business ownership. There laws protect them and our laws protect them... Good deal... for them..

Russia remains a dark deal... I expect it is cultural and would remain so regardless of leadership. It is a shame that they deeply believe in their parinoid existance of under the table dealing... They could be a major culture if it werent for their need to win at all costs...

Germany... Stuck between many lessor partners... strong cultural performance ethics ... becomming paranoid for maybe good reasons ...
17:16 May 22, 2010 by RevolutionUnknown
Its never about the formulas or pictures that make nations. Germany has got a force with inherent characteristics and qualities that outclasses other systems. The way they manufacture there human resource is a tremendous example of there indigenous system. The way there educational model follows a hierarchy fortunately puts everyone in what one deserves for eg vocational trainings, apprenticeships, technical universities. The growth in economy is inevitable. It would rather be more damaging if Chinese or people in the east are to influence from there systems thereby enhancing economy as a by-product.
17:19 May 22, 2010 by christmascorner
Hey EsTARD. Good reply to Fruitok. How did the USA get involved in the article. Must be SPD or Green Party MEMBER.
17:28 May 22, 2010 by Bushdiver
Yea! We don't have to spy. We stole all of their best scientists at the end of WWII.
19:14 May 22, 2010 by William Thirteen
i suspect the russian and chinese spies hiding in your apartment walls have planted the tiny radio in your teeth which is broadcasting the mind control messages from fox news.
19:38 May 22, 2010 by wood artist
I hate to say it, but this is hardly news. The Chinese government has repeatedly demonstrated that it is utterly unwilling to confront the facts of industrial espionage or outright copyright theft. The Russian government is still largely unable to sustain a stable economy with only internal development.

I suspect Germany is an easy target, largely by its proximity, but I'm certain both the US and Japan are similarly afflicted. The Chinese manipulation of their own currency, coupled with their minimal wage standards insures that they can hold the rest of the world hostage and continue to distort the balance of payments. They can only do that by manufacturing cheap consumer goods, using the methods and industrial developments discovered by others.

21:29 May 22, 2010 by saar
I worked both with Chinese and Russians. Chinese can work hard and long hours but utterly

boring and with no new ideas. Russians can't work at all but have some ideas. Those ideas are about how to cut corners and cheat.
21:55 May 22, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, if countries such as America and Germany ever were to elect a strong leader, then problems such as this would vanish.

Almost everyday, I sit and wonder why such large Western nations can't produce even a handfull of truly bright individuals.
23:20 May 22, 2010 by bernie1927
@Eastard - Interesting logic. America kept Germany from . . Really? Didn't America make a gift of half of Germany to the Russian commies in Yalta? So, forget about American benevolence. America is ruled by the mighty dollar and if it can make a buck, so be it.

But, here in the States, we have the same problem with the Chinese and the Russians. Since governments are behind internet hacking now, I fear that our defense and communication systems are in great peril, but I am sure, we are no angels either and are doing our fair share of spying too.
23:46 May 22, 2010 by Decemberbunny1213
Germany is such a boring country with one track mind. The similar news repeats over and over again as if there were no other domestic problems going on.
23:53 May 22, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Logic Guy --

I'm glad you don't call yourself "Political Science Guy." Jesus.
00:44 May 23, 2010 by darwiniandemon
@ saar, as a Chinese, I concur. We're a boring bunch trained to follow orders blindly. The few Chinese that work in the company have no idea how to generate or contribute anything. I'm 1/2 and 1/2 myself as I grew up in the West - only 1/2 boring but also only 1/2 hard working
08:32 May 23, 2010 by ColoSlim
It is a compliment if China and Russia are looking at your stuff. That means your country is on the right track. Start worrying if they stop taking an interest in you.
02:20 May 24, 2010 by gubigator
....... americans stole the best scientist in europe after the WW2...i think they stuck in the past keep saying we saved europe in WW2 ,,,,get over it ...its been 70 years......one thing its sure that...americans are bunch of fanatics like middle easterns.....like arabs believe in their religion ...so as americans...most of the americans politicans they dont believe in evolution.......americans are only good at complaning about others...like russians and chinese,.....casue they knew these two countries are capable of sending the americans into the darkages.......
20:18 May 24, 2010 by Zlik
This is so laughable because it's like copyiing from a classmates test paper. This is buisness, stealing.
21:15 May 24, 2010 by Major B
@ bernie1927_ Come on -- you know that Eastard is correct. Have read what you've said about your heritage -- much respect to that.

Of course, many still stupidly go -- with the "America is the problem of the world" like ole gulpigator up there. Sure the U.S. took German scientists after WWII -- kept them from the Russians. While you're at it Bernie, keep informing the "ill-informed" that is wasn't just the WWII work America did for Europe 70 years ago. It was the long hard years of the Cold War, which ONLY ended in 1990 - 91 that guaranteed the freedom Western Europe. Roosevelt was tired at Yalta and should have taken Truman along so he could have secured things. He stopped the Soviets from gobbling up Greece and Turkey and Eastern Germany went because the Russians were hell bent to get there before the Americans and Brits. With what they suffered who can blame them. And Germany could have been united long ago; it's just the Soviets demanded it be neutral and we refused to accept that -- good thing we didn't.

@ William Thirteen -- great comments. Pretty soon the ungrateful lot will be left to their on devices. Right now they still need us to prevent them from killing each other.
14:34 May 25, 2010 by Beachrider
Geez, Russians and Chinese spying? Make the next article on squirrel flatulence in Hamburg, it will be just as insightful.

I dunno about these Englishmen continuing to try to pry apart German from American cultures... More people in America cite their German heritage than cite their English heritage. I wonder why THAT happens.
15:02 May 25, 2010 by michael4096
Well, if countries such as America and Germany ever were to elect a strong leader, then problems such as this would vanish
Germany is such a boring country ..
I quite like living in a boring country with leaders that don't stir a hornets nest with every little issue. Remember the chinese curse: may you live in interesting times.
15:33 May 27, 2010 by CrazyTexan
USA is the biggest source of espionage?

Is that why we afraid as entrepreneurs and small business owners to have our products fabricated there?

Is that why we have to have things made in Mexico, so we can retain our IP?

Is that why we can't use Russian software engineers to produce our software, so we must use Polish?

Fruitkok you are a fruitcake.
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