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Industrial Espionage: What is it, Who's Involved and What Harm Can it Cause?

NCJ Number
Polygraph Volume: 30 Issue: 1 Dated: 2001 Pages: 47-55
Randal F. Mueller
Donald Krapohl
Date Published
9 pages
This article explores the causes and consequences of industrial espionage.
Profits from industrial espionage can be enormous; so too are the consequences. In a speech given to the Executive’s Club in Chicago, Illinois in 1995, Louis J. Freeh, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stated that economic espionage costs the United States $100 billion each year in lost market share. This article defines industrial espionage, summarizes the laws designed to curb this type of abuse, and discusses the reasons for industrial spying. There is also a review of foreign intelligence services as a threat to business and a need for intelligence in the United States to stay one step ahead of the competition. In today’s world where business contracts are awarded with a “winner take all” mentality, some domestic companies and foreign corporations alike will go to any measure, including criminal activity, to ensure that they are awarded the contract. Disgruntled employees are the most sought after asset by a competitor because of the corporate knowledge they possess. Because today’s marketplace is unstable, many employees do not feel a sense of loyalty to their employer, and this may lead to the phenomenon of industrial espionage.