Company Law

Topics: Industrial espionage, Economic Espionage Act of 1996, Trade secret Pages: 9 (3323 words) Published: April 19, 2013
The information revolution and the advances in technology during the past decades has brought to fore many challenges and issues to both governments and businesses, the age-old crime of espionage or the practice of spying to gather secret information is one the most potential issues facing information-based societies. Although, much has been documented as fact and fiction concerning the traditional foreign agents and spies, in today's world of multi-national, multi-billion dollar corporations, and industrial espionage is a growing danger. Furthermore, this is aggravated by the fact that many large businesses are physically disseminated which has distributed management and administration, and more job specialization. High technology offers the ability to collect and use information for competitive edge over others in meeting business and government objectives, it also makes modern information and technology-based nations and businesses vulnerable as information can be stolen from electronic storage media and transmitted in seconds without even physically removing the data. The paper attempts to examine how investors or companies could protect themselves from corporate espionage. However, in doing so, it shall also look at the historical development of espionage and examines how the advances in technology in the recent years have facilitated the act of espionage, and also the measures that may prove useful in controlling Industrial Espionage. As a prelude to the research, it may be worthwhile to understand how industrial espionage is defined, its nature and implications. The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines industrial espionage as “an individual or private business entity sponsorship or coordination of intelligence activity conducted for the purpose of enhancing their advantage in the marketplace.” While this definition may imply Industrial Espionage to be more or less the same as business or competitive intelligence, John F Quinn explains the essential difference between the two, while business intelligence is generally under private sponsorship using an “open” methodology, espionage may be either government or privately sponsored and clandestine. My definition of Industrial Espionage is it is the process of collecting information and data for the purpose of generating revenue. Generating revenue is very important aspect for these people. They are not thrill seeker, if the compensation does not justify the reward they will not bother attempting to collect the required information. Individuals who commit Industrial Espionage are not looking for information for information sake, but for information that will produce a big payday when acquired by a second party or when the information is viewed by unauthorized personnel the value of the information is no longer valuable. Money and power are motivators and the stakes in today's billion dollar business environment the rewards far exceeds risks. In the highly competitive and globalized business environment, proprietary intellectual property and economic information is considered the most valuable commodity by all nations, particularly the advanced ones. Businesses and/or governments involve in espionage activities for the purpose of unlawfully or clandestinely obtaining sensitive financial, trade or economic policy information, proprietary/sensitive economic information; or critical technologies including but not limited to data, plans, tools, mechanisms, compounds, designs, formulae, processes, procedures, programs, codes or commercial strategies, whether tangible or intangible, for competitive business advantage. The proprietary information so stolen may have been stored, compiled or memorialised physically, electronically, graphically, photographically or in writing and may be reasonably protected by the owner and not available to the general public. Proprietary information may be stolen by employees accessing the business and company databases, hackers breaking into...

Bibliography: 1. Boni W. & Kovacich G.L. (2000) Netspionage: The Global Threat to Information MA: Butterworth- Heinemann
3. Denning, D. E. (1998) Information Warfare and Security MA: Addison-Wesley
5. Kelley, P.W. (1997) “The Economic Espionage Act of 1996” In Boni W. & Kovacich G.L. Netspionage: The Global Threat to Information MA: Butterworth- Heinemann p. 241-247
7. Vest, J. (1998) “Erosion of Individual Privacy - Echelon Subchapter” The Village Voice, August 11 Available at: Accessed 02/26/06
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