What is Espionage?
Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information considered secret or confidential without the permission of the data holder. Espionage is inherently clandestine, as the legitimate holder of the information may change plans or take other countermeasures once it is known that the information is in unauthorized hands.
For example, corporate espionage involves one company or corporation spying on the business activities of another, usually one of their competitors. Corporate espionage usually occurs in the form of infiltration via employment. A “corporate spy” gets a job with the target company, secretly gathers information and data, and feeds it back to the original company.
Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, as the legitimate holder of the information may change plans or take other countermeasures once it is known that the information is in unauthorized hands.
Espionage vs. Intelligence Gathering
Espionage is different from intelligence gathering. Often the government or commercial company conducts this institutional spying effort. There are various types of spying as well. Typically, espionage is used when a state starts spying on actual enemies that may become a national threat and are made for military reasons. Spying that involves corporations is directed as industrial espionage.
One of the best ways to collect data and information on potential enemies is to infiltrate their ranks. Any reputed espionage agent or spy can do it. Also, there are governmental and corporate detection agencies that supply the finest spies to formulate criminal cases. These spies can collect all kinds of information regarding the strength or size of the enemy army. They can trace their internal movements while finding the dissidents among the enemy comrades and motivating them to defect.
In severe situations, spies can be used to steal enemy technology or use it against them. Counter Intelligence program feeds enemy protocols with misleading data while protecting domestic vital issues. Every country conducts strict laws against spying and considers the severe penalty for getting caught in the act. But, the advantages of using a spy are so significant that the government or espionage takes the risk to use the data they can collect.
The targets of espionage are many. The agents are trained under serious supervision, and they are experts in their respective fields. Generally, data collection is the main objective of the espionage strategy. These are some of the targets for any espionage agent:
- Natural resources
- Popular sentiment
- Strategic economic strengths
- Military capability and strength
Check out the spy equipment used to conduct spying and espionage.
For more legal definitions, visit our Glossary of Legal and Investigation Terms.