The theft of agricultural trade secrets is a growing problem, according to the FBI.
As a group of visiting scientists prepared to board a plane in Hawaii that would take them back home to China, U.S. customs agents found rice seeds in their luggage. Those seeds are likely to land at least one scientist in federal prison.
Agriculture today is a high-tech business, but as that technology has developed, so has the temptation to take shortcuts and steal trade secrets that could unlock huge profits. The FBI calls agricultural economic espionage “a growing threat” and some are worried that biotech piracy can spell big trouble for a dynamic and growing U.S. industry.