Spying allegations

There is a rather breathless piece in the Australian this morning talking about a computer scientist at UNSW working with ‘generals’ in the Chinese military.

A University of NSW computer science professor co-authored researc­h with Chinese generals linked to Beijing’s nuclear weapons program and supervised at least nine PhD students from China’s top military academy.

Professor Xue Jingling has been named by Beijing as an elite “Thousand Talents Scholar”, and maintains ongoing links to China’s National University of Defence Technology.

NUDT, which operates under the direct leadership of China’s Central Military Commission, has been blacklisted by the US ­because its supercomputers are “believed to support nuclear ­explosive simulation and military simulation activities”.

Yawn.

At the end of a long rant about the Chinese government stealing IP and what-not we get to this:

This research has been published in internationally peer-reviewed academic journals which are in the public domain.”

All the nonsense and silliness around national security and university research comes down to the issue of why would anyone try to steal university IP when the university business model is to publish IP in peer-reviewed public domain journals? In fact, the Australian government policy on open access is such that foreigners wanting to read that research don’t even have to pay for a subscription anymore.

This non-story gets even better:

The Department of Defence warned that universities must take reason­able steps to satisfy themselves their activities did not breach the law.

What has UNSW done?

The spokeswoman said that, in 2017, UNSW sent a list of Professor Xue’s research projects to the Department of Defence, which advised that his research was “non-sensitive” and “not covered by government restrictions”.

Seems “reasonable” to me.

This entry was posted in Education, National Security, Taking out the trash. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Spying allegations

  1. C.L.

    A University of NSW computer science professor co-authored researc­h with Chinese generals linked to Beijing’s nuclear weapons program …

    Even taken to an extreme of interpretative panic, what would be the new danger, exactly?
    The Chinese already have a vast arsenal of nuclear bombs.

  2. Diogenes

    Even taken to an extreme of interpretative panic, what would be the new danger, exactly?

    going into full tinfoil hat mode
    UNSW do a lot of work for the feds & private industry. Who knows what little tidbits & techniques he hears ‘around the water cooler’ .

    Some clever manager at a previous employer went so far as to put a whiteboard in the tea room, because guys from different projects, in the course of a ‘how’s it going exchange’ would proffer solutions to problems (eg I am stuck trying to work out how to … have you tried ..’) and the whiteboard would be put to good use as they bounced ideas of each other – at one point we had 2 projects crammed in the tea room and ideas for both teams were flying thick an fast

  3. RobK

    Im sure spying is like so many other things; it’s the ones you don’t see that get you.

  4. Fess

    You do realise that ADFA is a campus of UNSW don’t you? How much private info about Defence’s officer graduates does this guy have access to?

  5. Sinclair Davidson

    Probably zero.

  6. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Ah yes. Stealing IP from the long-abandoned and now non-existent Australian atomic bomb programme.

    I’m sure they’re dying to know our 60-year-old secrets since they’ve been spying with mixed success in the US since at least the late 1980s.

  7. Paul

    I’d say that, given that the media does not work for us, then the structure of this story betrays its real purpose, which is opinion manufacturing.

    Maybe the Oz have employed Judith Miller?

  8. Rafe Champion

    As if they couldn’t hack the ADFA personnel records if they wanted to know stuff. They could follow them on Facebook as well.

    They are probably following all libertarians on Facebook already. They must know that we are a deadly threat to the regime.

    Speaking of the regime, this is an amazing TED talk that ends up with a lot of stuff about the internal organization of the Chinese bureaucracy, especially the revival of the mandarin system.

    https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/-4NTgfXj199xt7u7aGzxdg

  9. REX

    You’re naive.

    Why do you think the Australian intel and defence community were worried about this guy?

    Ever considered they might know a little more than you about what’s going on? Or are you some super genius.

    Can you imagine a scenario where Chinese spies, safely working in sensitive research facilities in Australian universities, might exploit their positions to help the Chinese state?

    This is EXACTLY what’s going on in the US universities, so much so that the FBI judge China the #1 threat to US national security interests, see https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/04/29/fbi-director-discusses-chinese-espionage-threat-us-academic-research

    Oh but I guess you know better, right. You utter fool.

    Wake up.

  10. Entropy

    They are probably following all libertarians on Facebook already. They must know that we are a deadly threat to the regime.

    Actually, I suspect they are a “Dark Psychic Power”

  11. Sinclair Davidson

    Ever considered they might know a little more than you about what’s going on?

    I seriously doubt it. If this guy was a security threat I’d be reading about his arrest in The Australian, not that an academic published a peer-reviewed in an open source international journal.

  12. In the US, about a third of the graduate students in our STEM programs are Chinese nationals, and they produce about a third of all the university research normally attributed to the US. When they go home, as is required by their visas, they take the knowledge they produced with them. Of course, this is stealing.

  13. jupes

    Even taken to an extreme of interpretative panic, what would be the new danger, exactly?
    The Chinese already have a vast arsenal of nuclear bombs.

    The problem as I see it is we have an “Australian” helping the Chicoms with their nukes.

    Why would an Australian want to do that?

  14. C.L.

    If this guy was a security threat I’d be reading about his arrest in The Australian …

    Exactly. Our “top spy” was last week touting for more money and power (as usual) by saying ASIO was “very very busy” controlling ever-burgeoning espionage. I thought that was pretty funny because I haven’t seen any espionage trials. Either there’s a secret court we don’t know about or they’re not doing a very good job bringing these phantoms to justice.

  15. Lazlo

    A complete beat-up, even Bolt swallowed it.

    Ten years ago Xue was lauded as a pioneer, forging research links with prestigious Chinese institutions in the brash, new 21st century.

    The threats from China are from its totalitarian, militaristic dictators, not from academics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.