Espionage 101

Espionage involves the clandestine gathering of information about the capabilities or intentions of foreign governments. Since Sun Tsu’s [The Art of War] in 530 BC, this has been an essential aspect of international relations.


In modern open societies, it often consists of stealing information electronically rather than peeking around corners or hiding in buildings. This can still be a dangerous business.


International espionage involves accessing, on behalf of a state, information held by another state that is considered confidential or strategic in the military, security, or economic field. The classical conception of espionage also includes surveillance programs implemented by intelligence agencies toward individuals and company-to-company industrial espionage. This type of espionage generally takes place in the phy 광주흥신소 sical space, but in recent times has also increasingly taken place in cyberspace.

The practice of espionage is a major source of tension between states. Many countries have strict laws regarding espionage and severe penalties for those caught engaging in this activity. However, some scholars argue that despite the inherent dangers of spying, it is not necessarily illegal if done in good faith and for a legitimate purpose. This position is based on the assumption that international law does not prohibit a country from gathering valuable intelligence to protect its citizens or interests in the event of war, as long as those activities are carried out with due diligence and within reasonable limits.

This argument, though, is challenged by the fact that international law does not explicitly state whether or not espionage is permitted or prohibited and leaves much of the definition of what constitutes a “legitimate” spying operation open to interpretation, including the question of how to interpret and apply state sovereignty concepts in an era when technology allows us to cross borders more easily than ever before. In addition, the expansion of the conception of state sovereignty to encompass more virtual ownership over information and media is a potential factor 광주흥신소 that should be taken into account when interpreting international law’s approach to espionage.


Whether it’s for financial gain or national security, industrial espionage takes many forms. It can involve stealing intellectual property, client information or company trade secrets. These secrets could be as simple as a blueprint or as complex as a new product. Either way, they can give competitors a leg up on the competition.

Technology-focused companies often find themselves targeted in industrial espionage. This is because they invest a lot in R&D to create and develop products. They also face a lot of pressure to get their products to market quickly. These factors, combined with the ease of access to information via the Internet and social media, make technology-focused industries a prime target for industrial espionage.

While the majority of businesses focus on protecting themselves against cyber attacks, they don’t always think about preventing industrial espionage. This type of espionage involves a disgruntled employee or someone hired by a competitor to steal company information, such as physical files or electronic data. These people can also be outsiders who break into company facilities, hack into computer networks or even pick through trash cans for valuable information.

One of the main laws against industrial espionage is the Economic Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. SS 1831-1839, which covers the unlawful acquisition of “proprietary financial, trade or economic policy” or “industrial technological information.” The law requires that the violating party know the offense will hurt the victim and benefit a foreign government or entity or individual.


Corporate espionage occurs when private companies spy on other private companies to gain a competitive edge. It can be incredibly expensive, especially in the technology field where time-to-market is critical. It also can have lasting effects on a company’s stock price.

In many cases, the spies don’t even need to break into the target organization’s office space. They can use their own mobile phones to record and transmit data in a number of ways. Spies may search wastebaskets for discarded cell phones, leave their own phones in boardrooms to record meetings or simply download information from the corporate network via unsecured connections. This has become easier with the rise of remote work and the coronavirus pandemic, which forced a lot of employees to move to working from home.

It’s important to remember that it’s not just disgruntled current employees who commit acts of industrial espionage. It’s often former employees who take trade secrets with them to a competitor for financial reward or as a way to get back at a company they felt wronged by. It’s also common for a foreign government to engage in corporate espionage, and this is why President Trump has fought so hard against Chinese theft of American tech and manufacturing jobs.

The United States governs corporate espionage under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996. The Act stipulates that to violate the law, it must be with the intention to obtain confidential financial or business information for a foreign entity or its agents.


The most well-known form of espionage involves states spying on potential or actual enemies for military purposes. While it may also involve a corporation, such espionage is typically called industrial espionage. It may involve such activities as stealing proprietary data, disrupting operations through false flag assignments and leaking classified information to the media. It is estimated that businesses lose $12 billion and 30,000 jobs annually to industrial espionage.

Examples of political espionage include wiretapping, bugging, collecting political dossiers, microphotography, bribery and theft. It may also involve blackmail, intimidation and kidnapping. It can be used to tighten government control and promote the interests of a ruling elite in constitutional or totalitarian systems. It can also be used to repress minority groups or foreigners.

It is considered a crime in many countries to leak classified information. One example of this occurred when Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, was indicted in the United States on charges related to publishing classified documents. The alleged violations of the Espionage Act involved a large number of pages related to national security issues and included information pertaining to surveillance programs. He reportedly admitted to posting the classified information in order to draw attention to these programs and to encourage others to leak additional materials. His defense was that the public had a right to know this type of information.