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Everyone is a victim

It was very interesting to see how reports written in different countries gave different views on the issue of economic espionage. Essentially, it was always stated that it was the other nations that try to steal economic secrets from their own country. Because those reports were published in almost every country, always accusing many other countries, this is one more indication that virtually every country is active in this area.

This section should give an impression about incidents that really happened. They show that espionage is a serious threat for every company that is engaged in international business. Apparently, the main targets are high-tech companies that had invested a lot of money in the development of new technologies.

The following examples are taken from: [5], [6], [7], [11], [12], [22].

In one case, the NSA eavesdropped on all faxes and phone calls between the European consortium Airbus, the Saudi national airline, and the Saudi government. After the agency passed this information to Boeing Co. and McDonnell Douglas Corp., these companies won in the $6 billion competition.

American intelligence agents were accused of breaking into computers of the European parliament as part of a campaign aimed at stealing economic and political secrets. Security officials state that the information obtained was used by the Americans in 1995's GATT negotiations.

On the other hand, French intelligence has spied on U.S. companies by wiretapping U.S. business people flying on Air France between New York and Paris.

In one case, even officials in Ghana were concerned about their computers connected to United Nations International Development Organization computers in New York. They were afraid of sensitive economic data being transmitted without their knowledge.

China is reported to be using members of visiting delegations and exchanges to conduct economic espionage in many developed countries.

Furthermore, there were reports of Americans accusing German companies, German articles talking about French and American activities, and stories from France telling how the country was targeted by foreign spies. This list is endless and is necessarily incomplete.


next up previous contents
Next: Conclusion Up: Economic Espionage Previous: Asian countries   Contents
Tim Wellhausen
2000-01-20