Palo Alto tech worker arrested on suspicion of stealing trade secrets | News | Palo Alto Online |


Palo Alto tech worker arrested on suspicion of stealing trade secrets

San Ramon man worked at Machine Zone, Inc.

A tech worker suspected of stealing trade secrets was arrested Thursday at San Francisco International Airport as he prepared to board a flight for China, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.

Jing Zeng, a 42-year-old resident of San Ramon, allegedly downloaded more than 100 files containing proprietary information from a confidential database after learning that his employment with Palo Alto-based Machine Zone, Inc., would be terminated, according Abraham Simmons, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Machine Zone, Inc., produces online video game "Game of War: Fire Age."

Zeng allegedly downloaded proprietary information using his company computer, transferred it to a storage device, then formatted the computer's hard drive and returned it to his employer, according to Simmons.

The federal complaint against Zeng was unsealed at a bail hearing in San Francisco Tuesday, Aug. 25. He was released on $100,000 bail but is being electronically monitored, according to Simmons.

Zeng faces up to 10 years in prison, if convicted, as well as a fine of up to $250,000. The court may also order Zeng to pay restitution, Simmons said.

— Bay City News Service

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36 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 26, 2015 at 9:22 pm

I hope the judge throw the book at him. [Portion removed.] China has no respect for our laws and international law. This is one of the many typical examples of what they will do to mass produce things back in china without ever inventing anything!

13 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2015 at 10:48 pm

What a joke. Video games? Major Silicon Valley companies have been giving China serious trade secrets for thirty years, to get access to cheap Chinese labor.

7 people like this
Posted by pecuniac
a resident of another community
on Aug 27, 2015 at 10:50 am

I would be much more alarmed at the theft of military hardware and software secrets. Lets hope that our version of the F35 Raptor is more capable than the version that the Chinese have deployed.

28 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 27, 2015 at 11:45 am

The company has invested money in developing the product and has employees to work the company products.

Yes - that is a BIG DEAL - they are robbing the company of it's proprietary and intellectual data and putting at risk the other employees who are foreign.

Employees are suppose to sign a legal letter concerning the intellectual property when the are hired.

So word of caution? Watch who you are hiring - newer and cheaper is not better.

18 people like this
Posted by Killing lessons
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 27, 2015 at 11:46 am

Video games that use killing and maiming and torture as their central themes should not have become such an important part of our culture. But boys are attracted to them.
There is no doubt that learning that this is a regular way to behave, leads to the incredible number of boys shooting and killing when they are stressed. They have learned how to do it, and that it is a solution to their problems.

The culture has been debased by the widespread use of these killing lessons.
Pretending that there is value in this trash is nonsense. Except, it makes money for people who can't find anything constructive to do.

2 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 27, 2015 at 11:54 am

In the olden days people used to go to the arcade and put a quarter in and play a mechanical game, and later electronic game - nothing is new under the sun here. It does help eye / hand coordination and fine tune the thinking process.

So people are not going to the arcade now - they are just going to their own computers.

They are learning skill sets which could translate to a job later as adults.

21 people like this
Posted by @resident 1
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 27, 2015 at 12:03 pm

These kids don't learn skills sets good for later employment unless they learn programming and coding as well.

Video games are good for hand-eye coordination, not much more.

Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 27, 2015 at 12:37 pm's called the F35 Lightning, not Raptor.

Web Link

44 people like this
Posted by Disloyal
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2015 at 2:19 pm

When an employer hires a foreign employee, especially one from a country that has an adversarial relationship with the U.S., and also has a history of both government and technical spying ( to say nothing of large scale hacking ), that employer is begging for trouble.

When that foreign employee has no plans to become a U.S. Citizen, but has gone to college and grad school here, has bought a home ( or several homes here ), yet works for below-market wages, that employee may very well be traitorous, disloyal, and even criminal.

May this traitor be locked away for life.

9 people like this
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2015 at 10:33 pm

@Killing Lesson. You are waaay off topic. The issue is that someone tried to steal a company's proprietary data. This guy is a crook, and they should throw the book at him. If YOU don't want to work at a company that develops violent video games, then don't take such a job. Such games are legal and quite a lot of developmental dollars go into putting one on the market. Some jerk who got fired should not be able to abscond to another country with their proprietary data, not to mention a country with an abysmal rate of tolerating piracy of games, movies, etc., etc.

8 people like this
Posted by Disloyal
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 2:07 pm

I don't think people were finished with this thread, but it got displaced by all the items concerning real estate sales--that we don't want or need to read about

2 people like this
Posted by JoAnn
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 28, 2015 at 4:29 pm

@Resident 1 "fine tune the thinking process" in shoot 'em up games? What thinking process would that be, shoot everything that moves before it can shoot you? Sounds like some news stories I've read lately, but I see no thinking there. More like the opposite.

I do find it interesting that some people here assume the Chinese put him up to this. Maybe he was just pissed and decided to go home and shop the information to game companies. Not that I don't believe China carries out industrial espionage; I'm sure they do.

5 people like this
Posted by Disloyal
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 7:43 pm

Actually, according to the FBI, Zeng downloaded all the secret info and sent it to China BEFOREHAND he found out he was being fired.

The CEO, Zeng's boss, helped the FBI in the sting that snared this criminal.

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