The ethics of industrial espionage, by Andrew Crane
As the examples and the discussion above attest, industrial espionage has become a
significant, and in many ways troubling, aspect of contemporary business practice. It
would seem that even companies with an ethical policy on intelligence gathering
might accidentally encourage, or even tacitly endorse, questionable behaviours on
the part of employees or contracted agents. In an increasingly knowledge-based
competitive environment, the incentives to overstep the mark in intelligence gathering
have increased significantly, and with advances in information and communication
technologies, the opportunities for doing so have multiplied accordingly. Moreover,
the boundaries for defining acceptable practice have also become increasingly
muddied, especially now that surveillance technologies and other ‘spying’ tools and
gadgets have become so easily available to companies.
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