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Employee broke the law by downloading smut on his work laptop

Bo Jiang, a Chinese citizen,  was one of 281 nationals from countries designated as security threats employed at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  But following increased scrutiny by Congress and a month-long trip to China in December that raised red flags, Mr. Bo was fired from his Visual Information Processing lab position at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia -- on assignment from the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA).  Mr. Bo was fired for violating agency security regulations by taking a NASA laptop and an NIA external hard drive with him on his trip.

Then in March, when Mr. Bo tried to leave the country for China, he was arrested at Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C., suspected of violating the Arms Export Control Act (22 USC § 39).

Mr. Bo, who graduated with a doctorate from Virginia’s Old Dominion University in 2010 had been involved in retinex, a low clearance project working to development image improvement algorithms for space telescopes and other NASA cameras.

Unlike in some past cases where investigations confirmed suspicions of spying, a search of Mr. Bo's laptop showed that he was likely not passing NASA secrets to China, but that he was processing a different kind of image on his NASA laptop during his downtime.  Investigators found unlawfully downloaded copyrighted movies and sexually explicit films on the work machine.

Mr. Bo faces up to five years in U.S. prison on the porn/copyright infringement charges.  And when he does get out he likely won't be enjoying much adult entertainment; Chinese censors have a nationwide firewall blockade on pornographic content.

Source: Bloomberg





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