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Man Charged With Stealing Code From Federal Reserve Bank 199

Posted by samzenpus
from the was-that-wrong? dept.
wiredmikey writes "A Chinese computer programmer was arrested by U.S. authorities in New York on Wednesday, on charges that he stole proprietary source code while working on a project at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The man arrested, Bo Zhang of New York, worked as a contract employee developing a specific portion of the GWA's (Government-Wide Accounting and Reporting Program) source code at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York where the code is maintained. The complaint alleges that in the summer of 2011, Zhang stole the GWA code, something he admitted to in July 2011. Zhang said that he used the GWA Code in connection with a private business he ran training individuals in computer programming."
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Man Charged With Stealing Code From Federal Reserve Bank

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  • Re:Lesson 1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @07:11PM (#38755904)

    Fed is not part of the government. Its a private entity controlled by the members.

  • by RightwingNutjob (1302813) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @07:22PM (#38756030)
    I work in a place that makes you sign an NDA. Betcha he had to sign one too. Whether blueprints or code, industrial espionage is a real crime, both morally and legally.
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomhath (637240) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @07:25PM (#38756070)
    FTA: "he used the GWA Code in connection with a private business he ran training individuals in computer programming" Training individuals who are interested in the Fed's software? Now who (cough) would be interested in that?
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @07:29PM (#38756114) Homepage Journal

    Is it a wonder that there is a growing contempt for China and its actions?

    I believe we've gone way past the "three times is enemy action" for incidents like these.

    Sensationalism by the author, playing to the xenophobic among the indigenous readership. It should have been 'Programmer Steals Code ..' Not 'Chinese Programmer Steals Code ...'

    Now, if he were an agent of the PRC, a point of nationality would be highly relevant, but in this case it does not serve fair news reporting.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @07:42PM (#38756250)

    Seems every other day we're hearing about some chinese scientist or programmer that steals US proprietary secrets of some kind. Why does this keep happening? I thought the whole point of a background check was to avoid this sort of thing. Review where you f'ed up in the background check. See what you knew at the start that should have been a red flag and then add it to the disqualified list. If you were fooled at that point or didn't get enough information then see to it that you're harder to fool and gather more information. This is just sad.

    Do your damn background checks.

  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @07:43PM (#38756272)

    I have more contempt for the fuck that hired a Chinese contractor to work on government systems while people are begging for jobs here

  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @08:35PM (#38756780)

    Is it a wonder that there is a growing contempt for China and its actions?

    If all it takes is for one citizen to copy a bit of code for you to hold his country in contempt, then you must really hate America after all those people lost billions of dollars in the Enron scandal. Of course, I chose the Enron example at random, but there are probably thousands of criminal acts occurring across the country every day. If you are going to just single out the ones committed by people of Chinese decent then think that says more about you than China.

  • Re:Lesson 1 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @08:40PM (#38756830)

    The Board of Governors are appointed by the President and their salaries are set by the govt, but the input with which the Fed takes decisions is largely from the member banks. Its one of those strange public-private partnerships, that I would consider mostly private.
     
      And It goes without saying that the board of governors are usually former Wallstreet barons.

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @08:41PM (#38756840)
    You can do all the background checks you want. If a representative of the Chinese government says "Here's 20K$ to hand us some code", a very large percentage of people will say "Deal". If a representative of the Chinese government says "hand us the code you work on, or your relatives in China disappear", a very large percentage of people will say "what sort of media would you like it on".
  • China thanks you (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @08:50PM (#38756914) Journal
    America is LOADED with Chinese spies. China is in a cold war with the west, and the west is disregarding it. Sad.
  • Re:Lesson 1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pharmboy (216950) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @09:01PM (#38757006) Journal

    In addition to your comment, the source code was never available for sale to any other party. It wasn't "infringement" in that it cost the Fed lost sales, it lost them exclusive access to sensitive data that they only wanted a limited number of people to have access to. The financial loss isn't related to lost sales, but in potential security implications. Apples and Oranges.

    In this case, it was more like theft because the Fed lost exclusive use of the software, something that can't be given back once it is in the wild. Piracy is completely different, where 100 copies of a file can cost lost sales of 1 or 2 actual copies, but no loss of use or security is involved, only revenue. With music and movies, you WANT many people to have access to the product, but at a cost. With exclusive software, you want NO ONE to have a copy. Neither is ideal if you own the "property", but they aren't the same.

  • by theNAM666 (179776) on Friday January 20, 2012 @03:27AM (#38758816)

    I might suggest you read my comment history, if you think I'm in middle school, my friend.

    I didn't suggest that you *work* for the Geek Squad. I suggested that anyone hungry and with half a clue could steal the Geek Squad's lunch.

    More seriously, I get these sort of "jobs" from friends all the time. My bartender approached me last night, and said he took his virus-crashed laptop to Best Buy and they quoted him $400 to move the files off and to his new Mac. He told me he'd give me $200 to do the job-- adding that he had certain files with his wife that were, shall we say, "private" in nature and he didn't trust Best Buy to deal with.

    That kind of work is everywhere. If the Geek Squad is charging $100/hr to do very basic tech (setting up DVRs, etc) then you can undercut that-- and provide a professional relationship. It's not work I really want-- but how you beat the big corporate guys, is by providing a better price point, and a better service. Get a $700 suit for $300 on OverStock, treat your customers well, communicate with them in standard written English, establish trust and security. Kiss their rumps if you have to, if you're eating Ramen.

    In the end, I don't mean to insult you if your situation is hard. But I'm not going to accept BS, either. If you're not in the sticks where there's no market-- if you are somewhere where there's Best Buy and Comp USA-- then surely, you can still find people with money, who will pay Best Buy if they have no other choice, and take that business. And provide a better value.

    As far as this guy-- c'mon. Your proposition is silly. The US Federal government is a damn Dilbert mess, sure, but if they could hire a US-native programmer for the same price (don't assume this guy is a low-ball salary) or even 50% more, they'd probably do so. The talent isn't there.

    Of course, that's also a failure of the US Educational system. I'm probably more pissed than you about that, and I understand that the US isn't providing as much educational investment and opportunity for young people, as, for instance, China. But the young in the US also have an enormous sense of entitlement, of wishing and thinking they should get something for nothing.

    I worked hard in College and grad school. I put in the 80+ hour weeks, and I still do. I've lived in CA-- if you can't downsize enough to live on $45K in the Mission, or Berkeley (or the burbs), c'mon, $45K is still a lot of money. I've made 100x that in a year, and I've lived on a quarter of that in other years. Adjust to your means and make the best of it-- if you can't pull in $45K, then don't try to live a $45K lifesytle.

  • Re:Lesson 1 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Oligonicella (659917) on Friday January 20, 2012 @11:15AM (#38762372)
    "In this case, it was more like theft because the Fed lost exclusive use of the software, something that can't be given back once it is in the wild. Piracy is completely different..."

    Nope. Piracy is the loss of your right to distribute your material as you see fit because some numbnuts thinks his desires trump your copyright. Copyright is not about revenue. Once disbursed into the wild, it can't be called back either. More same than not.

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