FBI and DHS's CISA warn China-backed hackers are targeting U.S. COVID-19 research

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/05/13/fbi-and-dhs-warn-u-s-covid-re.html

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What a pile of bullshit. The virus won’t change its strategy just because we reveal ours. And that data should be public anyway so everyone in any nation can benefit.


Yeah, can someone tell me what is lost by the leaking of this “valuable intellectual property”, other than the ability of a few companies to jack up the cost when a vaccine is made?


Came here to say the same, put the research in the public domain and there is no need for hacking and may speed up the research around the world,


Supposedly the pharma companies don’t make that much money on vaccines. However, I imagine the PR benefit of being the Big Pharma company that “saves the world from Covid-19” is priceless.

I hear this assertion that Big Pharma doesn’t make big profits on vaccines a lot but I’m not sure I believe it 100%. Even if they don’t make massive profits I find it difficult to believe they would ever put themselves in a position where they would lose money on them. I suppose they might be willing to lose a bit of money on something that had a very small specialized population requiring it. But I also expect that the money losers would be the first on the chopping block when a given pharmaceutical company’s research funding experiences a low tide.

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I’m not typically a “big pharma” person who thinks the entire medical industry is out to get you, and I’ve heard they actually do lose money on vaccines, but all this talk about intellectual property as though they’re trying to invent a really profitable phone app rather than cure a global pandemic is really frustrating. This is not the time to withhold information about testing or vaccines, it should be shared and spread as much as possible, voluntarily. I’m at a loss as to how this information being “stolen” jeopardizes public health rather than merely corporate profits.


It jeopardizes the potential for exclusive distribution, where the producer can politically punish or extract concessions by determining who gets it and who doesn’t.


For the most part, I’m with you, but the current situation in Patentland™ is that if you don’t patent your invention, you risk someone else reverse-engineering it and locking you out of manufacturing and selling your own product. So while I don’t doubt for a minute that some of the companies developing vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 plan to gouge for it, many are academic institutions and NGOs that have no interest in profit. They still have to file for the IP to make sure it isn’t stolen out from under them by patent trolls.


This isn’t a pharmacorp thing, this is a US geopolitics thing. They’re setting up a preemptive justification so that, when China is the first to release a vaccine, they can claim it was “stolen” from America.


This, too. And the US-based researchers who are collaborating with other researchers globally will be reluctant to speak up about it, since they may depend on grant money from the US government. That said, there are plenty of researchers who are not beholden to the government who would be likely to call BS.

Not that the Trump administration gives a shit about whistleblowers, but at least the public is likely to learn the truth.

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umm… good? the more people working on the problem we all face, the better? as long as no one is actively sabotaging efforts, that is. though that really seems more part of our playbook…

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They could just release it into the public domain, when there is unambiguous demonstration of prior art, it will be hard to claim originality.

One can only hope that the US falls apart sooner rather than later, leaving behind a couple of states that need to behave in a civilized manner, simply because they are too small to bully anyone else.

The standard process for that is to file the IP, go through the review, and, assuming the patent is granted, open it up for $0 licensing. That way, if necessary, you can deny a license to someone who is abusing it (like price gouging in a country where they are granted exclusive approval, for instance). It is much like Creative Commons, but with an emergency clause to shut down bad actors.

If you don’t file the IP and simply make the invention public, then you can end up spending $millions defending it when someone else files the IP instead. Sure, you’ve got a good case, but you still have to prove it, and fighting to invalidate someone else’s IP (even if you invented it) is many, many times more expensive than simply filing a brief challenging someone else’s application for IP that overlaps or copies your existing IP.


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