Industrial Espionage - Spying on a Grand Scale
What is industrial espionage? It is spying conducted for commerical purposes. In short, it is not just spying 'to know' but spying 'to profit'.
Espionage refers to the practice of spying. In this crime, you acquire information about a person, group of persons or an entire society through covert methods. The key element that differentiates this act and makes it a crime is that there is no permission from the owner of the information to obtain it and use it for ulterior motives.
It is usually carried out by one state against another, often related to the military and its operations. Instead of being called a spy, the more official term is intelligence officer, who acts as a mole or insider by infiltrating governments. In a corporate setting, industrial espionage is also a high stakes, lucrative crime that involves stealing one company’s secrets from another.
The Punishment for Espionage
In whatever setting, espionage is a very dangerous endeavor. If the spy gets caught, then he or she could be deported by the country where he or she is residing in instances wherein there is more than one nation state involved. But deportation is a relatively tame punishment and in other countries, spies are given an accelerated legal process which could land them in jail sooner than they think. In other cases, especially in countries at war, catching a spy could mean an automatic execution, oftentimes even without experiencing the due process of law.
Through the decades, the United States has improved the technology it uses in espionage, but by far, the best network of spies that ever existed was in the former USSR or the Soviet Union. While espionage was more common in the time of war and political unrest, it has been used more recently for the detection of terrorists and terrorist activities as well as in uncovering the players of the illegal drug trade.
The Main Purpose of Industrial Espionage
In industrial espionage, on the other hand, the aim is for commercial profits instead of getting ahead in the political arena. While violence is less prevalent, it can be present, alongside usual acts of bribery, blackmail and other spying techniques. Although it could occur in almost any commercial industry, it has become common in those industries wherein the technology changes rapidly and the value of that technology is critical to the company to get ahead in the game. For instance, industrial espionage is fairly prevalent in the automobile and information technology or computer industries.
The information required in industrial espionage cannot be found in public records which everyone can access. It becomes necessary for the spy to steal the information to win over the competition in that industry, launch a product before they do and capture a larger share of the consumer market before they can. If information is critical in your business, then you should be especially wary of cases of industrial espionage.
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