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Counteracting Industrial Espionage Through Counterintelligence: The Case for a Corporate Intelligence Unit and Collaboration with Government Agencies

NCJ Number
Security Journal Volume: 15 Issue: 4 Dated: 2002 Pages: 7-24
Peter R. J. Trim
Bonnie S. Fisher, Martin Gill
Date Published
18 pages
This article discusses why industrial espionage is undertaken by companies and governments, and provides suggestions to businesses for creating a corporate intelligence unit as a counterespionage measure.
This article provides a number of corporate strategy models and tools to be used by business managers to create a corporate intelligence unit with a security dimension. It is emphasized that industrial espionage requires a proactive response on the part of businesses wishing to protect sensitive and confidential data and information, with the corporate intelligence unit acting as liaison between the company and its constituent parts, and various government agencies. The discussion of illegal activities and industrial espionage provides a brief history of this type of activity in the United States and internationally. The illegal activities of employees is discussed and examples of government involvement in illegal activities/industrial espionage are given. For example, employee use of e-mail and lack of computer security within companies, it is suggested, contributes to vulnerability to fraud. One example of international espionage is China where it was found that a network of Chinese agents had been established within the American establishment, and also that China conducts an information warfare strategy via the Internet. The issue of industrial espionage is also placed in an international relations context, with the actions of different countries, it is noted, requiring consideration from a culture-of-intelligence standpoint. A discussion of cyber-attacks against companies includes information on the needed expertise of several specialists to defend against such attacks, the required cooperation of governments, and the possibility of a military strike resulting against foreign rivals. In conclusion, it is noted that having a corporate intelligence unit levels the playing field for business competition and allows a company to concentrate on identifying unmet needs and developing and launching marketable products and services. 105 Notes