Essay Sample on Types of Espionage

Published: 2023-09-12
Essay Sample on Types of Espionage
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Criminal law Intelligence services Social issue
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 525 words
5 min read

According to Glitz & Meyerson (2020), espionage is the practice of spying or the use of spies to obtain information about activities and plans, especially of a competing company or a foreign government. They describe it as the use of illicit strategies by more aggressive competitors to gain access to their rival’s sensitive information or disrupt their operations for a better competitive edge. These unlawful means include but by no means all, industrial espionage, corporate espionage, economic espionage, cyber espionage, intellectual property crime, and commercial espionage, to name some. This paper aims to describe the various types of espionage and how they relate to organized crime.

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Industrial espionage refers to acquiring or targeting trade secrets of government entities or companies to knowingly benefit an individual or a private entity other than the owner. On the other hand, economic espionage refers to acquiring or targeting trade secrets of government entities or companies to knowingly benefit a foreign agent, foreign instrumentality, or foreign government. These misappropriations include copying, buying, stealing, destroying, or transmitting trade secrets (Demarest, 2020). Commercial and corporate espionage are primarily alternative terms for industrial espionage, intellectual property crime covers a more extensive field and encompasses the substantial trade in counterfeit goods. Cyber espionage marks one of the standard means for undertaking them; it is a form of cyber-attack that steals intellectual property or sensitive, classified data to gain an advantage over a competitive government entity or company. Military intelligence or espionage refers to the military agencies engaged in disseminating and gathering information that has strategic or tactical value. All these misappropriations or illicit activities are criminal acts under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (EEA) (Glitz & Meyersson, 2020).

In their survey in 2007, the American Society of Industrial Services (ASIS) noted that businesses had incurred damages ranging from $ 10, 000 to more than $ 5.5 million due to theft of their intellectual property (Button, 2020; Glitz & Meyersson, 2020). The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also reinforced this survey stating that competitors obtain intelligence by implanting or recruiting insiders at the target organizations (Button, 2020). Therefore, the federal act defines and enforces penalties for such activities involving trade secret theft; this makes it unlawful to copy, steal, download, communicate, or sketch them to others without permission. Criminal activities that relate to corporate espionage get prosecuted multiple federal statutes such as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, the United States Patriotic Act, and Electronic Eavesdropping Act (Button, 2020).

In conclusion, industrial or economic espionage can hinder the government or company’s growth opportunities and severely damage their reputation. Therefore, following the best practices that reliably prevent espionage and protect the company or government entities from both insider and outsider threats should be recommended. The federal government should also enforce severe penalties for such crimes to help eradicate espionage-related activities.


Button, M. (2020). Economic and industrial espionage.

Demarest, G. B. (2020). Espionage in international law. Denver Journal of International Law & Policy, 24(2), 4.

Glitz, A., & Meyersson, E. (2020). Industrial espionage and productivity. American Economic Review, 110(4), 1055-1103.

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