Learn more about Industrial espionage
At the most innocuous level, the term is applied to the legal and mundane methods of examining corporate publications, web sites, patent filings, and the like to determine the activities of a corporation (though this is normally referred to as business intelligence), through to illegal methods such as bribery, blackmail, technological surveillance and even occasional violence. As well as spying on commercial organizations, governments can also be targets of commercial espionage—for example, to determine the terms of a tender for a government contract so that another tenderer can underbid.
Information can make the difference between success and failure; if a trade secret is stolen, the competitive playing field is levelled or even tipped in favor of a competitor.
Although a lot of information gathering is accomplished by combing through public records (public databases and patent filings), at times corporations feel the best way to get information is to take it. Corporate espionage is a threat to any business whose livelihood depends on information. The information competitors seek may be client lists, supplier agreements, personnel records, research documents, or prototype plans for a new product or service.
In recent years, corporate espionage has taken on an expanded definition. For instance, attempts to sabotage a corporation may be considered corporate espionage; in this sense, the term takes on the wider connotations of its parent word. In some cases, malware and spyware has even entered the arsenal of the warfare known as corporate espionage. 
 In popular culture
The film Cypher, revolves around industrial espionage in a sci-fi setting, using an extreme form of deep-cover surveillance to question notions of the self.
 Further reading
- Barry, Marc and Penenberg, Adam L. Spooked: Espionage in Corporate America. Perseus Books Group, December 5, 2000. ISBN 0-7382-0271-1
- Fink, Steven. Sticky Fingers: Managing the Global Risk of Economic Espionage. Dearborn Trade, January 15, 2002. ISBN 0-7931-4827-8
- Rustmann, F.W. Jr. CIA, INC.: Espionage and the Craft of Business Intelligence. Potomac Books, November 2002. ISBN 1-57488-520-0
- Winker, Ira. Corporate Espionage: What It Is, Why It's Happening in Your Company, What You Must Do About It. Prima Lifestyles, April 9, 1997. ISBN 0-7615-0840-6
 See also
 External links
- Spyware as Corporate Espionage Threat. NewsFactor Network, July 19, 2005.
- Directory of Corporate Espionage detectives at ExpertLaw
- Recent cases and future of industrial espionage