Trade Secret Hacking, Online Data Breaches, and China's Cyberthreats

21 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2015 Last revised: 8 Sep 2015

See all articles by Peter K. Yu

Peter K. Yu

Texas A&M University School of Law

Date Written: July 30, 2015


Online hacking from China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and other parts of the world has caught the attention of U.S. policymakers, commentators, and the American public. For example, the discussion of the systematic attacks launched by potentially government-sponsored Chinese hackers reinforces the view that China is using all means necessary to compete against the United States. Most recently, the unprecedented cyberattack on Sony's movie studio also delayed and scaled back the nationwide theatrical release of the film The Interview. This attack led President Obama to call for greater cooperation between the government and the private sector to protect cybersecurity and the country's critical infrastructure.

Commissioned by the Cardozo Law Review for the symposium on "Data Breaches: Moving Forward, Practically," this article closely examines the ongoing debate on China's sustained effort in using online hacking and other intrusive techniques to steal trade secrets and proprietary data from U.S. businesses. The article begins by outlining the five common narratives that have thus far been advanced to recount this widely criticized effort. Sensing the narratives' negative overtones, the article follows up by offering five modest suggestions on how a more positive debate can be constructed to help identify ways to reduce online hacking and data breaches as well as to enhance the protection of trade secrets and proprietary data.

Suggested Citation

Yu, Peter K., Trade Secret Hacking, Online Data Breaches, and China's Cyberthreats (July 30, 2015). Cardozo Law Review De Novo, pp. 130-50, 2015, Available at SSRN:

Peter K. Yu (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX Tarrant County 76102
United States


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