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Austria as a Target of East German Espionage: Technology Theft in Austria - a Phenomenon of the Cold War or More Topical Than Ever?

NCJ Number
.SIAK-Journal International Edition Volume: 4 Dated: 2014 Pages: 4-13
Walter Blasi
Date Published
10 pages
After reviewing the history of East German technology theft that targeted Austrian companies during the "Cold War," this article documents the prevalence of post-Cold War economic espionage and how Austria has dealt with it.
Based on an analysis of documents of East Germany's Ministry for State Security (the "Stasi") that became available for public review some years after the economic disintegration of East Germany in 1989/1990, this article's first section reviews the economic relations between East Germany and Austria during the Cold War. Austria was a leader in several areas of industrial development, so East German intelligence services sought to obtain relevant technological information that would benefit the struggling East German economy. The revelation of such economic espionage against Austria during the Cold War has not sufficiently alerted Austrian companies to countries' expanded use of economic espionage in order to benefit their countries' economies in an increasingly competitive global market. Consequently, the Austrian government must act to protect the country's companies from economic espionage. Based on a 2010 comprehensive study of the "Dangers of Economic and Industrial Espionage for the Austrian Economy," the goal of the Austrian security authorities is to make Austrian company executives aware that organizations of all sizes, revenue, and market penetration levels might be susceptible to economic and industrial espionage. The main targets for espionage are electrical engineering and high-tech products. 19 references