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Industrial espionage (also called corporate espionage or economic espionage)

is the act of seeking a competitive, commercial advantage by obtaining a competitor's trade secrets and/or logistics. The acquisition of industrial information through clandestine operations.[1]
occurs when an actor, intending or knowing that his or her offense will injure the owner of a trade secret of a product produced for or placed in interstate or foreign commerce, acts with the intent to convert that trade secret to the economic benefit of anyone other than the owner by: (1) stealing, or without authorization appropriating, carrying away, concealing, or obtaining by deception or fraud information related to that secret; (2) copying, duplicating, reproducing, destroying,uploading, downloading, or otherwise transmitting that information without authorization; or (3) receiving that information knowing that that information had been stolen, appropriated, obtained or converted without authorization.[2]

Industrial espionage "does not extend to the activity of private entities conducted without foreign government involvement, nor does it pertain to lawful efforts to obtain commercially useful information, such as information available on the Internet. Although some open-collection efforts may be a precursor to clandestine collection, they do not constitute industrial espionage. Some countries have a long history of ties between government and industry; however, it is often difficult to ascertain whether espionage has been committed under foreign government sponsorship, a necessary requirement under the Economic Espionage Act, Title 18 U.S.C., Section 1831."[3]


Technically savvy companies have the potential to capitalize on inadequate IT system security to engage in cyber espionage against the U.S. government and domestic corporations, primarily to collect science and technology information that could provide economic benefits. Some of these companies have considerable technical expertise and signals intelligence capabilities and have a strong presence in U.S. market. IT product markets – including microchips, telecommunications systems, and encryption products. One consequence of the current espionage climate is that travelers with laptops and other electronic devices risk having information stolen in such locations as airports and hotels.



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