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Professor Faces Jail Time for Sharing Drone Plans

pickens (49171) writes | more than 5 years ago

The Courts 0

Hugh Pickens writes "Retired University of Tennessee Professor Dr. John Reece Roth has been sentenced to four years in prison after he allowed a Chinese graduate student to see sensitive information on Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones. In 2004 the company Roth helped found, Atmospheric Glow Technologies, won a US Air Force contract to develop a plasma actuator that could help reduce drag on the wings of drones, such as the ones the military uses. Under the contract, for which Roth was reportedly paid $6,000, he was prohibited from sharing sensitive data with foreign nationals but despite warnings from his University's Export Control Officer, in 2006, Roth took a laptop containing sensitive plans with him on a lecture tour in China and also allowed graduate students Xin Dai of China and Sirous Nourgostar of Iran to work on the project. "The illegal export of restricted military data represents a serious threat to national security," says David Kris of the U.S. Department of Justice. "We know that foreign governments are actively seeking this information for their own military development. Today's sentence should serve as a warning to anyone who knowingly discloses restricted military data in violation of our laws." During his trial, Roth testified that he was unaware that hiring the graduate students was a violation of his contract. "This whole thing has not helped me, it has not helped the university," said Roth. "And it has probably not helped this country, either.""

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