“The Justice Department unsealed two separate indictments of Chinese telecom device maker Huawei on Monday. But only one of them reads like the script of a slapstick caper movie,” writes Laurel Wamsley in their recent NPR article entitled “A Robot Named 'Tappy': Huawei Conspired To Steal T-Mobile's Trade Secrets, Says DOJ.”
“That would be the one that describes the U.S. government's case alleging that Huawei stole trade secrets from T-Mobile, the wireless service company,” explains Wamsley.
“In the indictment, the government says that between June 2012 and September 2014, Huawei repeatedly made efforts to steal information about the design of a T-Mobile robot. The robot's name, adorably, is ‘Tappy,” the article continues.
Wamsley shares, “We would like to include a photo here of Tappy, but photographing the robot is expressly prohibited by T-Mobile, and Tappy is kept under very tight security in a lab at T-Mobile headquarters in Bellevue, Wash.”
According to the NPR article, “Tappy's job is to test devices before they go to market. With a rubber-tipped robotic arm, it touches the device screen, imitating a human using the phone — while at the same time tracking problems, measuring how long tasks take to complete, and monitoring how much battery is drained by each task.”
“At least at the time of the events in the indictment, Tappy was apparently the envy of other mobile companies, and only T-Mobile employees were allowed to operate Tappy. But eventually the company allowed employees from its phone suppliers to access and operate the robot – so long as they signed nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements. Those agreements specifically barred suppliers' employees from attempting to reverse engineer Tappy, or to take photos or videos of it,” continues Wamsley in the piece.
Wamsley continues that “Meanwhile, Huawei China was reportedly trying to build its own device-testing robot — named, less cutely, ‘xDeviceRobot’ — and it was not finding much success. And Huawei's devices weren't faring well on T-Mobile's Tappy tests, failing more often than devices made by competitors.”
Now, chances are you’re not developing a top-secret robot to change the wireless provider game.
But you’ve most certainly got critical data about your customers, operational processes, and any other competitive advantage you’re leveraging.
That’s why it’s important to know how you can protect it.
We believe Proactive Operations that stick to the methodology get it right more times than not – way more than not.
It’s a disciplined way to keep your performance up and your property protected.
Keep reading; we’re going to share how to protect your figurative “Tappy” from others.