Tech & Work

Research scientist accused of stealing data from DuPont

For the second time in a few years, an employee at DuPont has been accused of stealing valuable data.

A research scientist at DuPont has been accused of misappropriating trade secrets from the company and using them to build competing products in China. According to Computerworld:

In a lawsuit filed in Delaware Chancery Court, DuPont accused Hong Meng, a former senior research scientist at the company, of stealing data on a new, thin-computer display technology called "organic light emitting diode" or OLED. DuPont claims that Meng planned to use the stolen information to develop and commercialize products using OLED technology with his alma mater, Peking University, in Beijing, which is also developing similar technology.

This is not the first time DuPont has cried foul on the theft of its proprietary data. Gary Min, a former research scientist at DuPont, is currently serving an 18-month sentence in connection with the theft of information valued by federal authorities at $400 million.

So, here's the deal: DuPont is apparently on the lookout (and it looks as if they have reason to) for employees who are making off with their data. My question, at least in the Min conviction, is why did DuPont not catch on until after $400 million worth of data was taken? If there is so much money riding on its data, why don't they have monitoring products in place to detect suspicious activity (like a huge number of downloads being made)?

I'd like to hear from the TR folks. How closely does your IT department monitor employee activities? If you do have some monitoring in place, why? Is it more to catch inappropriate employee usage of work systems, like downloading porn or visiting non-work related websites? Do any of you work for a company whose data is so valuable that employees are closely monitored?

About Toni Bowers

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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