Why Is The US Trying To Punish Hackers For Accessing Vaccine Research We Should Be Sharing With The World?

from the what-a-stupdendous-waste-of-time dept

Back in May, I wondered why the US was trying to hide vaccine data from the Chinese. In fact, it was bizarre that the US government seemed concerned about Chinese hackers trying to access vaccine data, because why would anyone keep such data secret in the first place. This is a global pandemic and the way you solve a global pandemic is with a global solution, and the way to get there faster (and better) is with the open sharing of information. Hoarding and locking up information regarding a potential vaccine makes no sense at all. And yet, this morning, the DOJ made a big showing of how it had indicted Chinese hackers for trying to hack COVID-19 related research.

The Justice Department on Tuesday accused two Chinese hackers of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars of trade secrets from companies across the world and more recently targeting firms developing a vaccine for the coronavirus.

This is totally performative, as those hackers are in China and the US can't do a damn thing about them, other than allow for Attorney General Bill Barr and FBI Director Chris Wray to grandstand and pretend they're doing something useful. And, again, the really shameful part is the fact that this research is "secret" in the first place.

And, of course, last week we had a repeat of the story from May, except that this time it wasn't "Chinese hackers" trying to get vaccine data, but theoretical Russian hackers:

Russian cyber actors are targeting organizations involved in coronavirus vaccine development, according to a new warning by US, UK and Canadian security officials on Thursday that details activity by a Russian hacking group called APT29, which also goes by the name "the Dukes" or "Cozy Bear."

An advisory published by the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) details activity by the Russian hacking group and explicitly calls out efforts to target US, UK and Canadian vaccine research and development organizations.

"APT29's campaign of malicious activity is ongoing, predominantly against government, diplomatic, think tank, healthcare and energy targets to steal valuable intellectual property," a press release on the advisory said.

I'm sure within a month or two we'll have another performative press conference from Barr and Wray announcing pointless show charges against Russian hackers as well, because why not?

And, again, rather than recognize that saving and protecting global health is the key priority here, the US government is responding by worrying that others might save the world first. House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy is even introducing a bill to "sanction foreign hackers" for trying to get US COVID-19 vaccine information in his somewhat pointless Defend COVID Research from Hackers Act".

The bill is pointless on multiple levels. Foreign hackers are not subject to US jurisdiction, so this wouldn't do anything in the first place. Second, given the indictments announced today, it's not as if law enforcement actually needs greater authority. They seem to have the authority they need to go after hackers. But, (to repeat myself) more importantly, we should be sharing this research widely and getting everyone else to pool their research efforts as well in order to move everyone forward as quickly as possible in order to save as many lives as possible. This isn't a zero sum game where one country "wins" and another "loses." This is about stopping a devastating global pandemic.

As even CNN is admitting, there are no good health reasons for keeping this info secret or worrying about hacks, it's literally a completely wasteful attempt to want to claim bragging rights.

Given the inevitable confusion ahead, getting to the head of the line just does not make sense as an explanation, at least from a financial windfall perspective or a saving lives perspective. But the need to dominate voiced both by Trump and the leader of Russian vaccine efforts, Dmitriev, makes the likely reason for any sneak attack all too clear. It's less about saving the world with a vaccine than about beating the other guy and taking home the first place medal.

What a stupid, stupid reason. Leadership is about doing the right thing even if it makes you look bad. The right thing here is figuring out how to save as many lives as possible and to end the pandemic as quickly as possible. McCarthy's bill would do the opposite of that, and is a total waste of time. I get that it's still driven by the silly belief that everything related to drug discovery must be "owned" and "patented," but actual lives are on the line right now, and Rep. McCarthy should be ashamed that he's wasting time and holding back research, instead of encouraging more open sharing of information.

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Filed Under: china, chris wray, covid-19, hacking, information sharing, innovation, kevin mccarthy, patents, russia, sharing, vaccines, william barr


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  • icon
    murgatroyd (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 9:16am

    Why?

    Bragging rights are definitely there, but I suspect that being able to charge the world lots and lots of money for the resulting vaccines would be high on the list, as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 9:32am

      Re: Why?

      I second this. You have to look at whomever is paying the campaign of the Republicans to ever wonder why.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 12:43pm

      Re: Why?

      Watched Part of the Video...
      Intellectual property?
      HOW do you do that with a world wide epidemic? Arnt we sharing with other countries and getting info from THEM ALSO??
      How do you use ONLY your own data to make something, that you can Claim is YOUR OWN PROPERTY?? How would you do testing without the hospitals using it?? (STUPID IMO)

      Looking at the Vid and listening is strange, as they are saying that China helped figure out WHO was doing it.. REALLY? and we even have pics of the person(s)??

      Can anyone explain to these folks HOW to fake site data?? How to Run threw China/Russia, and SEEM like you are from that area??

      They stole Terabytes?? That is allot of data.. Can you see them copying a front page to an article?? From scientists doing the work??

      Listen to the person, its strange they are talking MORE about how China is going after tech, and private Tech info..Intellectual property.
      GLOBAL market place..

      All the wording is about Copyrights, NOT sharing the data we have Already gathered..

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2020 @ 2:20am

        Re: Re: Why?

        Intellectual property?

        Live by the IP sword; die by the IP sword. The US has based most of, if not all of, it's economy on the idea of owning ideas. The only profitable idea is one the buying party hasn't had yet themselves. Of course the US wants to keep it's data secret. How else can they sell the idea itself otherwise?

        HOW do you do that with a world wide epidemic? Arnt we sharing with other countries and getting info from THEM ALSO??

        Nope. We pulled out of the WHO remember? What part of that made you think the US wanted to share for free?

        How do you use ONLY your own data to make something, that you can Claim is YOUR OWN PROPERTY?? How would you do testing without the hospitals using it?? (STUPID IMO)

        You can't. Which is why many countries don't do the whole IP crap to begin with, and sells actual finite goods and services made from ideas. The US on the other-hand has the approach of: Every person who knows is a potential under-cutter of profits. Silence them!

        Looking at the Vid and listening is strange, as they are saying that China helped figure out WHO was doing it.. REALLY? and we even have pics of the person(s)??

        Interesting claim, but again, the US is complaining that the US is losing the ability to hold the world at ransom, because the actual good guys are hacking them. Not exactly the highest ground to be arguing from. Especially when you consider that even if the US sells the info, the US is still impacted by those infected who are unable to pay. (Of course I'm sure we'd just consider that a new business opportunity and / or a PR "donation" stunt waiting to happen........ god the US is morally / ethically bankrupt.)

        Can anyone explain to these folks HOW to fake site data?? How to Run threw China/Russia, and SEEM like you are from that area??

        They stole Terabytes?? That is allot of data.. Can you see them copying a front page to an article?? From scientists doing the work??

        Well considering they apparently lack any kind of IDS to indicate they are uploading terabytes of super secret data somewhere, or that an upload has been in progress for hours, I'd say any explanations are a pointless waste of time.

        Listen to the person, its strange they are talking MORE about how China is going after tech, and private Tech info..Intellectual property.

        The old bully is afraid of the new kid on the block and it shows. Like a greedy child upset that they can't have another ice cream cone.

        All the wording is about Copyrights, NOT sharing the data we have Already gathered..

        Again. Say it with me: The US based it's economy on imaginary ownership of ideas, and is finding out the hard way that the rest of the universe has it's own ideas.

        The only reason that economic model worked in the first place was because the US had the advantages of lack of competition, and the resources to do the research. The US chose not to maintain either advantage, and is now paying the price for that choice in the form of China eating it's proverbial lunch. Not that China has anything special going for it either. The US' outcome would be the same regardless of which country ramped up it's education and resource development to compete. China just got there first. Simply stated, the US' economic policy was unsustainable, and now the consequences are being realized. With the US whining and crying about it to deaf ears around the world.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 2:42am

          Re: Re: Re: Why?

          "The old bully is afraid of the new kid on the block and it shows. Like a greedy child upset that they can't have another ice cream cone."

          Oh, worse than that. The old bully still has an ice cream cone. The new kid, on the other hand, has two ice cream cones, and in different flavors - one of which is a flavor the bully sold the new kid some time ago because at the time that flavor wasn't trendy.

          "Again. Say it with me: The US based it's economy on imaginary ownership of ideas, and is finding out the hard way that the rest of the universe has it's own ideas."

          And is panicking that all the politics in the world won't convert information and ideas into physical items with a natural scarcity.

          It gets even worse when you consider that back in the day the US built itself around the concept of hard work for decent pay. Now it bases itself around "Eh, if dad worked hard, why should I do anything other than sit back and wait for teh moneys?" and "I maded something good. Once. Now i can haz bukkits of moneys for sleeping".

          It's literally economy the way you'd expect a lolcat to design it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 2:32am

      Re: Why?

      US; 1000 deaths per day and rising.
      Also US; "Let's keep the research into the cure as national secret!"

      I hope there's no profit motive here, because Martin Shkreli is bad enough without the US government adopting his brand of sociopathic disregard for human life as official policy.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2020 @ 9:56am

    Because we want to make sure our oligarchs get even richer from the pandemic. You want to solve a global pandemic causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and countless cases of lifelong suffering without a handful of ultra-wealthy Americans getting even more obscenely rich? What are you, a communist?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2020 @ 9:59am

    The Why

    Sharing smells like communism, and we cannot have any of that in the U.S.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bobvious, 21 Jul 2020 @ 2:51pm

      Re: The Why

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 2:47am

        Re: Re: The Why

        You're both wrong. Sharing the research data about a deadly pandemic falls under basically being human.

        Which, shouldn't, admittedly, be considered a political stance per se under normal circumstances.

        When the nation keeping the cure research secret is also the nation under the heaviest threat of the pandemic the policy of releasing it falls under not being maliciously insane.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Bobvious, 22 Jul 2020 @ 5:41am

          Re: Re: Re: The Why

          You're both wrong. Sharing the research data about a deadly pandemic falls under basically being human.

          • Correct, but my response was about the misapprehensions associated with Communism, and how it's not always clearly distinguished from Socialism. But we'll get over it. https://xkcd.com/386/

          Disadvantages

          Historically, communism has always fallen into single part control over society. This can be due to its basic structure of consolidating all the power and resources, but then they are never relinquished to the people.

          Socialism has hardly ever been successfully demonstrated, and never on a large scale. Human nature tends away from egalitarian sharing and toward private ownership. This foible will never change.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 5:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The Why

            "Socialism has hardly ever been successfully demonstrated, and never on a large scale."

            Not in a pure form, but then neither has capitalism.

            Every modern successful democracy is some kind of hybrid, usually with socialism. That includes the US, they just like to pretend that the socialist parts of their society don't count when the term comes up in conversation.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 6:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The Why

            I'd argue that socialism is, as PaulIT implies, part of just about every form of government which exists. The US is no different and is, in fact, running a LOT of purely socialism under the hood.

            Agricultural and oil energy subsidies are purely socialist levers - and yet have a long history of republicans favoring them heavily. Every other program intended to alleviate middle-class household burdens, using tax money and/or state/federal power as driver? Socialist.

            Socialism has a long history of success on a large scale. Never, however, as anything other than a support structure for whatever other form of political system is in use.

            That's why anyone arguing about US "socialism" (for or against) is bringing the wrong words to the table, because socialism has been part and parcel of the american system for a long, long time. The various political candidates beating each other over the head with this word are often disingenuous to begin with.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        teka, 22 Jul 2020 @ 5:34am

        Re: Re: The Why

        Remember kids, anything you don't like is socialist nazi communism And terrorism, because words have no meaning!
        /s

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MathFox, 21 Jul 2020 @ 9:59am

    Make the US #1

    It's my impression that current policy is meant to keep the US solidly at the #1 position in the COVID-19 rankings... Keeping medicine or vaccines away from the general population is essential in that plan, otherwise India could overtake the US here. Consider the revolt when Russian or Chinese hackers show that a vaccine already is available, it could be worse than any "black lives matters" thing!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 21 Jul 2020 @ 9:59am

    As Lucy always said to Linus: "MIne!" (now part of the Trump Economic Theory)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Koby (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 10:01am

    Always the Money

    It no doubt costs money to perform any research, and the medical corporations expect a return on investment. While it sounds nice to "share" information regarding the coronavirus, I doubt that other nations are willing to arbitrarily "share" some money to see the research results.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2020 @ 10:15am

      Re: Always the Money

      The ting with the pandemic is that is doing a lot of damage to economies, and the sooner a vaccine is created, the sooner economies can get on track, along with fewer deaths and people disabled out of the work force. It actually makes economic sense to share the information, just to minimize the costs caused by the pandemic, which are greater than any profit to be made from a vaccine.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Koby (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 10:31am

        Re: Re: Always the Money

        It actually makes economic sense to share the information, just to minimize the costs caused by the pandemic, which are greater than any profit to be made from a vaccine

        I always viewed it as the opposite -- that U.S. biotech companies can imagine a very large vaccine profit, much greater than any costs we've experienced so far from the coronavirus.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2020 @ 10:37am

          Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

          With economies of the world tanked, who is going to be able pay the excessive price that US companies will demand?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Koby (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 10:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

            who is going to be able pay the excessive price that US companies will demand?

            Although I'm not saying that this is the case, because when medical patents are involved, then you are creating a monopoly, but --

            Under a capitalist system, if the price is truly excessive then the seller actually loses money, and is incentivized to lower the price. Zero sales multiplied by any price is still zero dollars.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:04am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

              "Under a capitalist system, if the price is truly excessive then the seller actually loses money"

              The free market does not and can not work with medicine, where people need the product to live, will pay anything to do that, and may not have the ability to shop around before they need to pay.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Koby (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:36am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

                The free market does not and can not work with medicine...

                Somehow, I don't think you'll ever take a trip to Cuba to receive treatment. And those Soviet patients didn't exactly work out too well for you either. Meanwhile, people the world over have travelled to the U.S. to receive treatment. The verdict is clear: free market nations enjoy far higher standards of medical care.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:57am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

                  The US medical mafia is the third leading cause of death, and has been for decades. And for that you pay a premium in walletectomies prior to shuffling off this mortal coil.

                  Don’t think so? Do a little research or at least look around and pay attention this time.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2020 @ 1:44pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

                  Insanely rich people come to see top doctors. This isn't at all indicative of the overall standard and value of US healthcare.

                  Also, show me this free market. I'll wait.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 10:46pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

                    "Also, show me this free market. I'll wait."

                    You just described it. Rich people can pay for elective surgery if they want it and get top treatment. If you can't afford that or need non-elective care, you're "free" to choose between life and bankruptcy, even though you already paid more for medical care than people in countries where you don't even get charged for the care, as your taxes already covered it.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 10:40pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

                  "Somehow, I don't think you'll ever take a trip to Cuba to receive treatment"

                  I don't need to, genius, because I live in a country with a first world healthcare system.

                  "Meanwhile, people the world over have travelled to the U.S. to receive treatment"

                  Yes, rich people. Most of us are satisfied with out own healthcare system that everyone can access, unlike your "file for bankruptcy or die" system.

                  "The verdict is clear: free market nations enjoy far higher standards of medical care."

                  No, the verdict is that millionaires travel to private clinics in the only "free market" system. Everyone else fucked. Why do you hate your fellow Americans?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anon, 22 Jul 2020 @ 8:42am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

                  If you can afford to travel to the USA, and have the social standing to be entitled to a timely visa (if from Trump's S***hole countries), and then can afford USA retail hospital costs - You're already in the 1%.

                  For the rest, it's local medicine.

                  I don't think any other country is going to wait for the USA pharma to make vaccines for their country, and will not allow massive IP payments for making the vaccine locally. What does bother me is that some Russian will take research done by Canadians, Americans, Brits, and probably most other first-world researchers, then produce a vaccine process and expect modest IP premiums to be paid to Russian oligarchs. Even $10 per shot royalty for 8 billion people works out to a lot of money.

                  The logic should be - many governments helped fund this research, whoever finds the magic formula shares it to the world for free.

                  But having stolen the information, peeking at what approaches other labs are considering - do you think the Russians will then give intellectual credit and recognition to those sources, or brag about how smart their scientists are?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 9:15am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

                    "If you can afford to travel to the USA, and have the social standing to be entitled to a timely visa (if from Trump's S***hole countries), and then can afford USA retail hospital costs - You're already in the 1%."

                    Generally speaking, travel to the US from any first world country under normal circumstances is relatively cheap (under $1,000 anyway for coach) and you'll already likely be covered by ESTA to bypass visa requirements. So, it's the cost of medicine that's the main cost, which is usually extortionate.

                    So why would people do it? Well, of course, nobody's making the trip for emergency surgery, so you're usually talking elective surgery. This usually means cosmetic, but there is room for experimental or otherwise very expensive surgery that's not covered either by the local publicly funded medicine or the private insurance system where they live (fools like Koby usually forget that we have the option to supplement public healthcare with a private option if we wish - cheaper here because they don't have to cover the basic functions already done by the public system). I don't have figures to hand, but I would guess that you're usually talking people trying to access top notch cosmetic surgery that are crossing the border, not ordinary families with a couple of million to burn after the NHS denied a surgery with a 0.5% chance of success.

                    In other words, he's making an argument he doesn't understand. He thinks he's saying America has a great healthcare system because so many people come to the US for medical care. What he's actually saying is that it's OK that millions of Americans can't access their basic medical needs, despite already having paid a bunch of taxes to fund them, because it's also the chosen venue for rich people to get boob jobs.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 2:49am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

                      "What he's actually saying is that it's OK that millions of Americans can't access their basic medical needs, despite already having paid a bunch of taxes to fund them, because it's also the chosen venue for rich people to get boob jobs."

                      You have to look at it from the perspective Koby most often represents on these issues. Compared to a solid pair of knockers who gives a rats ass about a few hundred thousand middle-class losers broken into homelessness by an unfortunate accident and a system of medical cutthroat profiteers? Piorities, Paul, priorities...

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:07am

              Under a capitalist system, if the price is truly excessive

              …people who can’t afford it will die. But hey, what’s losing a few members of the “surplus population” compared to making sure the CEOs of pharmaceutical companies stay obscenely wealthy?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:31am

                Re:

                European "Socialism" is where the people who paid for public research get the fruits of that labour back when the drug is released to their tax funded healthcare provider at zero or little extra cost.

                American "Capitalism" is where those fruits are locked up and sold back to to a public that already paid taxes for healthcare they can't access, to a private plan that's dependent on the employer they may or may not have as a result of the pandemic they need the medicine for, as long as Martin Shkreli doesn't need to buy his mate a new yacht.

                I know which I prefer.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Samuel Abram (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:50am

                  Re: Re:

                  The thing is, even in the US, you have Medicaid (for the disabled and poor), Medicare (for the elderly) and the Veterans Affairs (for the Military). We do in fact have government-run medicine, and speaking as someone who is on Medicaid, I'm extremely satisfied with never having to worry about who's going to cover me if my insurance won't pay for it. What I worry about is budget cuts from the state and how it would affect my care.

                  As I said, we have health insurance run by the government that people like in the abstract but would hate it if the other guy gave it to us (though I'd be extremely happy if even Trump gave us Medicare-for-all, albeit he wouldn't do it in ten thousand years).

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 10:36pm

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    "The thing is, even in the US, you have Medicaid (for the disabled and poor), Medicare (for the elderly) and the Veterans Affairs (for the Military)."

                    Yes, that's what I was referring to when I said "public that already paid taxes for healthcare they can't access". It's possible for a US taxpayer to pay for all of those systems and still not be able to access any of them. I pay for one system, and I can access it at any time I want.

                    It's great that there are still some safety nets in place over there, but I can't understand why anyone would defend that setup compared to the alternatives that are proven to work everywhere else.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2020 @ 12:31am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      but I can't understand why anyone would defend that setup compared to the alternatives that are proven to work everywhere else.

                      In the US, many people would rather cut their own throats that support anything that is socialist in nature.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 1:02am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Which is always funny, since not only does the US have a lot of those, many of the people who complain seem to be employed and/or dependant on a socialist system. It's just that they're been trained to think that "socialism" is the same as "communism" and that Soviet-era Russia rather than modern Europe is the aim.

                        It would be funnier if they weren't actively fighting against the interests of others as well as their own.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Bobvious, 22 Jul 2020 @ 5:48am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          It's just that they're been trained to think that "socialism" is the same as "communism"

                          Which is what I was trying to clarify in a previous comment above.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Samuel Abram (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 3:01am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Yes, that's what I was referring to when I said "public that already paid taxes for healthcare they can't access". It's possible for a US taxpayer to pay for all of those systems and still not be able to access any of them. I pay for one system, and I can access it at any time I want.

                      Oh. I apologize for misunderstanding and misinterpreting your comment, then.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anon, 22 Jul 2020 @ 8:46am

                  Remember Insulin?

                  Extracting and using insulin for treating Type I diabetes was a discovery by a Canadian scientist in the 1920's. Is there any reason insulin should cost anything more than the cost of production and a modest profit 100 years later?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2020 @ 3:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

            Just remember how we did it post-WW2. Loans and exclusivity.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 2:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

          "...that U.S. biotech companies can imagine a very large vaccine profit, much greater than any costs we've experienced so far from the coronavirus."

          Are you high, Koby?

          Back when India and Africa got gouged by the US trying to extort them over vaccine and anti-aids medication costs the WTO allowed for the exception called "compulsory licensing".

          If US companies manage to create a cure the whole world will instantly copy that cure and give the US the finger, the same way the world allowed india and africa to manufacture vaccines with US companies getting whatever those countries felt they could spare. It's that simple.

          So...there's no money in this because even if the US manages to develop a cure on the sly the US won't be able to deploy it and even less sell it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2020 @ 10:19am

      Re: Always the Money

      I was with you on the first part.

      For the second... other nations aren't bothering to "share" money to see research results because they're DOING RESEARCH AND SHARING IT.

      Even Canada and China, who are, thanks to the US, as well as HK, currently on the outs, are sharing research and working cooperatively on a vaccine.

      Russia already claims to be first to market with a vaccine. The UK has done the best job at publishing studies on effective protection mechanisms, and should have a vaccine available in September.

      The US hoarding info is going to get them nowhere, and lack of cooperation rapidly looks like it will make their oligarchs LESS money, not more, as they'll be out of the loop compared to everyone else who is currently sharing research. This DESPITE the fact that the US is also reading all the public literature other countries are producing.

      I have no problem with India being first to market here. They've got a brewing pandemic on their hands despite best efforts to flatten their curve. And if India goes full pandemic, the rest of the world will suffer massively.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 10:57am

        Re: Re: Always the Money

        A lot of drug research, even in the US, is actually publicly funded anyway. The big corps often take the results of that research and use it to sell specific drugs, but didn't necessarily do the research that got the original results. Then, they'll bankrupt Americans selling it to them because they can't charge as much in the first world.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Koby (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:15am

        Re: Re: Always the Money

        For the second... other nations aren't bothering to "share" money to see research results because they're DOING RESEARCH AND SHARING IT

        If I grow an apple, and I share it with my neighbors, I'm still not allowed to break into my other neighbor's house to steal an orange.

        But I'm also skeptical that the research which is being shared is worth very much. The U.S. has eclipsed other nations in recent years in terms of research expenditure.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

          Citation needed, especially regarding the relationship between that research and publicly funded research (a lot of private research depends on unprofitable publicly funded work to be done first)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:42am

          Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

          According to this list the US is number 2 on total spending, but 5th or 6th on percentage of GDP being spent on expenditure.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anon, 22 Jul 2020 @ 8:50am

            Depends...

            A lot of USA R&D is spent on fancy weapons systems. It takes a lot of research to develop anti-missile systems, hypersonic missiles, computer systems capable of modelling nuclear reactions, etc. A better metric would be money spent on medical R&D and pure research, not development.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2020 @ 1:46pm

          Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

          Nobody stole an orange. They looked at it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 3:08am

          Re: Re: Re: Always the Money

          "If I grow an apple, and I share it with my neighbors, I'm still not allowed to break into my other neighbor's house to steal an orange."

          Go read up on the differences between physical objects and information. Then go read up on "compulsory licensing". If the concept of intellectual property is what stands between the whole world and not seeing massive numbers of dead people then intellectual property gets overruled.

          In reality there is no way for the US - or anyone else - to make money out of a pandemic cure.

          You should check how well that went when the US invented anti-aids medication and tried to make money out of selling it to africa. The WTO immediately allowed for the manufacture and supply of the medication as a generic.

          "But I'm also skeptical that the research which is being shared is worth very much. The U.S. has eclipsed other nations in recent years in terms of research expenditure."

          Bullshit. The US has - consistently - cut back on research costs since the 90's. What there is is almost invariably publicly funded to begin with, with very little being made by actual private companies.

          And to quote a comedian - What americans want is always awesome. What they actually need is always shit. Your research budget is overwhelmingly engaged with finding new oxyciontin derivatives and viagra analogues because that's the repetitive market the money's in. Never actual cures.

          Yeah, you guys spend multiple times what the rest of the world does in finding medications allowing 60-year olds to get their boners back, and hyperaddictive pseudo-opioid painkillers. You spend almost zero on actual pandemic/virology research. No money in it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Zgaidin (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 10:19am

      Re: Always the Money

      Certainly true, and not wholly unreasonable that they'd like roi on their r&d. However, as no one has yet produced a working vaccine, we're left to assume that all this stolen data is about failures or works in progress that will likely be failures. At the very least, what does it hurt to share your failures with everyone so that we don't duplicate effort that won't go anywhere?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 10:53am

      Re: Always the Money

      It's cute that you think that all medical research is funded for profit, and that profit should trump fighting a pandemic, but it fits with your woefully misinformed view of the world.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 2:53am

      Re: Always the Money

      "...and the medical corporations expect a return on investment."

      And the cost of that ROI will mean a massive death toll of US citizens. Which in turn costs the US economy. And so on.

      This may come as a surprise to you, Koby, but national emergencies are not a valid part of the economy, and if you try to make them such you end up with a far heavier cost paid by the taxpayers than just a burden on their wallet. Any attempt by special interests to make capital out of an emergency comes at the cost of everyone.

      When you have a situation which threatens the entire nation - or world - as a whole, that's literally what tax money is for. THAT is what pays for research and development. In countries which aren't as demented as North Korea or the old soviet union.

      May I ask just WHEN the US turned into a country so embedded in ideology that it's willing to accept hundreds of thousands of dead americans by emulating the very worst fallouts of the political zealots in the old USSR and current NK?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David perry, 21 Jul 2020 @ 10:38am

    China Russia makes no difference

    Trace IP address and send tomahawk cruise back. Alert relevant governments and say you've got 10mins! Well, George w would've done it! Jesus America, wake up and work with the world show another way and they will follow. No, then reap what you sow

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:09am

      Violence isn’t an answer. It’s a question. For the United States, the answer seems to always be “yes” when, in far more many cases than its leadership would ever care to admit, the correct answer should be “no”.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:07am

    Because we don't want Communist Chinese stealing from us? Allowing them to claim credit and profit from our hard work? Because the Chinese government is outright evil?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:52am

      Re:

      I'd rather the Authoritarian Chinese Government claim credit for a vaccine for a pandemic if it means we could gather in public and private again, such as see live shows and go to conventions. You obviously have other priorities.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 2:57pm

      Re:

      Honestly, who gives a fuck who gets credit, so long as the public is protected from the pandemic?

      What is wrong with you?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 3:11am

      Re:

      "Because the Chinese government is outright evil?"

      Remind me who exactly is evil when Actor A is withholding research data on a deadly global pandemic and Actor B is trying to get to it?

      Most superhero movies would be casting the US in the role of the Big Bad.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2020 @ 3:39am

      Re:

      Because the Chinese government is outright evil?

      Unlike the current administration whose members are also dumb as f*ck.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Tim R (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:13am

    I will gladly admit that I'm probably one of the last people that would go off on some kind of anti-capitalism screed, but man, it sure feels like I'm about to...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:19am

    The triumphant return of Comrade Mike! Tireless defender of Russian and Chinese malfeasance! Though he seems to have missed a trick here: I thought the party line was to insist that there was no evidence of hacking, and that it was all a big lie from Western intelligence services. Tut tut, Mr. Masnick.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2020 @ 12:09pm

      Re:

      And where's your evidence for the mumbo-jumbo you're spewing?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 3:15am

      Re:

      As usual, Baghdad Bob, you completely missed the train of thought where keeping research data on the cure for a deadly pandemic is already the narrative of a supervillain, and the guy shouting about the "Bad guys trying to get to the research" looks exactly like what old american books and movies made a brainwashed Soviet Commissar look like.

      But hey, as long as you get to sling an ad hom at Mike you don't really give a shit that you sound like Kim Jong Un's press agent, eh?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Hero, 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:22am

    Why Is The US Trying To Punish Hackers For Accessing Vaccine Research We Should Be Sharing With The World?

    Because money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2020 @ 11:42am

    Millions of americans rely on tourism, also colleges rely on income from fee paying international students.
    America is acting like Russia in the cold War,
    Locking up data re covid19 in order to Get patents
    or so vague credit for making a vaccine is pointless,
    America depends on exports and providing services
    to international country's,
    If the pandemic continues or a vaccine is delayed
    Because of these actions it will literally cost America billions of dollars,
    Way more the the potential income from any vaccine
    patent. At this point America is no longer an example of freedom or a leader in fighting the virus,
    But sure its nice to get bragging points for
    complaining about Chinese hackers.
    This in a week when the EU stopped the data sharing agreement because basically the Nsa is
    surveilling or collecting data on every American
    citizen who uses social media or books a flight with Sabre with a credit card

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 12:24pm

    Disgusting, but not surprising

    With the reaction in US politics on the republican side being to either deny that COVID is a real problem and/or looting the treasury using it as an excuse it's pretty clear that 'saving lives' is really far down on the list of priorities, with 'profits and power' tied for the top spot, so of course anything that might threaten that will get attention and attacked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 1:32pm

    I HOPE...

    Everyone, at least 1/2 of the people, know what capitalism is doing, and WILL DO.. The Horror stories are there from the past. ANd we tried to solve those problems, and regulate allot of its problems.. But we seem to have a few groups that think it better to be FULL BLOWN UNADULTERATED CAPITALIST. Work from birth to death and gain nothing, except more money for those on top? But people dont understand this. Gone are the days that you worked for a company and you Benefited FROM the company for all your work.(not just your boss) Gone are the days, that If someone had a little extra lumber, he would give it to you, to help build something. Gone are the days, that your neighbors Came over to HELP YOU mow the lawn, or get the mower to work, or Anything nice. IT WILL ALL COST YOU MONEY.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Eldakka (profile), 21 Jul 2020 @ 9:37pm

    Why Is The US Trying To Punish Hackers For Accessing Vaccine Research We Should Be Sharing With The World?

    Because, oviously, health and medicine isn't a social good, it's a capitalist profit-making opportunity.

    (/s in case it's not obvious, health and medicine should be social goods, even though they aren't treated as such.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NoahVail (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 9:07am

    As ever, my complaint is with the press.

    I get that it's still driven by the silly belief that everything related to drug discovery must be "owned" and "patented"

    A belief that ~100% of news orgs thoughtlessly pass on w/o any analysis or even consideration.

    Leadership is about doing the right thing even if it makes you look bad.

    Our press corp does not (with any meaningful consistency) perform nuanced (or otherwise) reporting on pols doing the right/wrong thing.
    eg: 500 indistinguishable stories on one misdeed while countless other misdeeds go unreported.

    (disclaimer: I believe it is useless & counterproductive to calculate bias, w/o first addressing competency in reporting. The bias equation is skewed & unsolvable, while inept journalism is the norm.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 3:36pm

      Re:

      Very true,
      And something I learned in school, as a teacher requested we read the story, and figure out what was NOT said. read between the lines.
      But I have learned, that to be able to 'read between the lines', requires people to know the subject, the problem, the situations, the interactions.

      1 line in a history book, isnt enough to tell you Anything. I asked a friend..
      Did we Fight Japan or Germany first? He said Germany, Wrong.
      What started the war with Japan? They attacked us, WRONG.

      Looking back at history, and knowing the situations and WHAT was going on, Can change a story, very easily.
      Look up the expeditionary force, the Flying tigers, and the blockade at Australia. then wonder Why McArthur Left the philipines.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Queex (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 5:33am

    Why? The reason is obvious

    ...because hackers breaching research institutions horribly fucks up their ability to conduct the research in the first place.

    Some forms of the data contain confidential patient information and certain types of genetic data can never be properly anonymised. That's data that is, and should be, kept behind the usual barriers of protection. A breach there has all the privacy implications it would in other circumstances.

    Worse, if there's a breach, there the possibility that the data might be altered (perhaps even by accident) in the process - compromising the integrity of the data that researchers are trying to use.

    A breach can also identify particular researchers, who may find their non-work devices and accounts under attack, and dealing with that would take time and energy away from their work.

    And this is even before we consider the need to take services off-line to make sure they've been properly secured, further inhibiting the work.

    I work at an academic institution in the UK that's had to beef up it's security after seeing an increase in social engineering and hacking attempts - although this far there are no indications there has been a breach. No-one here is rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of getting a patent or jealously hoarding their cache of information so they get the glory.

    I don't doubt that stupid nationalistic sentiments exist at the country level, or that the usual suspects in pharma have their fingers crossed that they'll be able to make bank out of the pandemic. The point is that these hackers - every one of them - are exactly of a kind with the above: idiots compromising the response to the global pandemic for petty gain.

    Throwing the book at them (modulo the messed up state of laws in this area) is exactly what should be done.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2020 @ 6:24am

    Why? The vial shortage, that’s why

    Production of glass vials for vaccines was identified as a potential bottleneck a few months ago. The world’s manufacturers are working on it, and if a vaccine has passed testing by, say, Summer of next year, then there should be enough vials to distribute it. But it’s now possible that we could reach that milestone by this Winter. In this case, the first nation to have a working vaccine in its hands gets to fully re-open its economy first, and every other nation has to wait weeks or months for more vials to be produced. With no prospect of enforcement, yes the indictment is performative, but it has a purpose - to flag up just who put the work into vaccine and who should be getting the first production run. Though when spooks are involved, you never really know if the perpetrator is who your own spooks say it was. This could also be team Trump preparing another method to Blame China, if the epidemic is still going in November.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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