The core technology of Samsung Electronics was leaked
According to international reports, Samsung Electronics’ Device Solutions (DS) division recently discharged an engineer accused of divulging documents that incorporate key technologies, imploring state authorities to conduct an investigation into the matter.
Engineer A was found guilty of transmitting several critical documents, encompassing core semiconductor technologies, to his personal external email account, while some data was forwarded to another external email account for secondary storage. In response to this incident, Samsung Electronics took an unusual course of action: the company disseminated a comprehensive notice on its internal network, detailing the current status of the leakage penalty, the dismissal of Engineer A, and the call for an investigation. This maneuver was seemingly devised to augment employees’ understanding of the severity of technology leaks.
In the past, Samsung Electronics had dismissed and investigated two other engineers for similar indiscretions. Engineer B, planning to transition to an overseas company, stored hundreds of photographs of his personal computer screen, featuring key data of national core technologies, at his residence during remote work. Samsung Electronics called for an investigation into Engineer B, who was arrested and handed over for trial once his suspected criminal behavior was corroborated. The initial verdict sentenced Engineer B to one and a half years of imprisonment, suspended for two years, and a fine of 10 million Korean Won ($7,470). The prosecution appealed, arguing for stricter punishment, and the appeal is currently underway.
Similarly, another engineer, C, who was preparing to transition, was found to have stored thousands of photographs of significant technological data. Samsung, once again, dismissed him and requested the commencement of an investigative procedure. Engineer C was sentenced to a term of imprisonment last month. In this instance as well, the prosecution deemed the sentence too lenient and appealed the verdict.
Earlier this year, seven former researchers from Samsung Electronics’ subsidiary SEMES were sentenced to imprisonment for violating the ‘Industrial Technology Prevention and Protection Act.’ They were accused of illegally exploiting SEMES’s trade secrets, including the manufacturing technology for semiconductor wet cleaning equipment. Utilizing 24 designs they created, they manufactured 14 pieces of equipment worth 71 billion Korean Won (approximately 53 million USD), purportedly exported to overseas competitors or semiconductor research institutions.