Who can be the subject of industrial espionage

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Espionage as such is illegal intelligence activities in order to capture confidential information relating to the category of state secret agents of the special services of foreign states. Under the criminal law of Russia (hereinafter referred to as the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) espionage is classified as a separate criminal offense or treason (Articles 275, 276 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Let us understand the peculiarities of industrial espionage, who can be its subject.

Nuances characterizing industrial espionage

In the conventional sense, espionage is usually carried out on an international scale by foreign organizations, or on their instructions by agents, which may be stateless persons. As a rule, they try to use the information obtained to reduce the level of Russia's security. Industrial espionage is seen as a form of competition. But unlike competitive intelligence, which is not prohibited by law, espionage involves the illegal acquisition of classified information classified as economic and commercial secrets.

The main goal is to obtain:

  • advantages in business or any of the fields of activity;
  • personal benefit or benefit to a firm that is a legal entity.

The purpose of commercial espionage is to save time and money needed to achieve success at the level of leading enterprises and large companies. For example, when it comes to developing or introducing promising technologies into industrial production. Similarly, it can be associated with interstate competition, investment of foreign private capital.

Industrial espionage from the standpoint of current legislation

Speaking about bringing persons to criminal responsibility, in accordance with the provisions of Article 183 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the legislator does not use the terminology of commercial, industrial or economic espionage.

Attention is focused on:

  • illegal methods of collecting information constituting official, commercial or other types of secrets by committing criminal acts;
  • violations of the requirements for maintaining the secrecy of information of strategic importance for a state enterprise or commercial secrets of doing business;
  • illegal disclosure of personal data of other people without obtaining their consent by a person who has gained access to the database illegally or within the framework of official (labor) duties.

In fact, criminal punishment is provided not for the fact that competitors received secret data, but for the crimes committed in the form of:

  • theft (technical documentation, drawings, projects, business plans and others);
  • bribery of officials;
  • blackmail, threats to the life and health of employees who have access to classified information (or their relatives);
  • causing major damage to industrial production, an entrepreneur or a state enterprise;
  • actions entailing grave consequences.

Damage in the amount of 2,250 thousand rubles or more is recognized as large, and from 9 million rubles and more - especially large.

Signs of industrial espionage

If we consider industrial espionage from the perspective of a criminal offense, in order to bring the culprit to justice, it is necessary to prove the existence of corpus delicti. There is no clear definition of the concept of corpus delicti in the law. Moreover, its essence lies in a system of interrelated signs of a wrongful act.

Therefore, espionage in order to find out information constituting a commercial, official or other secret can be characterized by the presence of the main elements that make up a crime:

  • object of criminal encroachment - what interests agents engaged in espionage as illegal competitive intelligence (documents, information on partnerships, industrial technology, by and large - an entrepreneur, companies or enterprises acting as a legal entity);
  • the subject of a crime is a person who has committed illegal actions (these can be employees, agents of competitors, including citizens of foreign states, bribed or revealed secrets under threat of blackmail);
  • the objective side is the fact of committing criminal acts and their consequences (theft or destruction of important information, misleading the object of espionage through disinformation, and so on);
  • the subjective side - the motive, the goals that caused the behavior that entailed negative consequences (receiving remuneration for the information transmitted, the desire to eliminate competitors without making efforts to introduce new technologies, intercepting the sales market for industrial products).

Some of them are mandatory for qualifying the committed actions as a criminal offense, for example:

  • proof of guilt;
  • reaching a certain age when you can be prosecuted under criminal law;
  • sane state at the time of the crime;
  • the presence of signs of a threat to the life and health of individuals, society.

The rest of the signs can be additional, which are recognized as aggravating or mitigating guilt.

Optional include:

  • reasons that prompted to act contrary to the law, violating the agreement on non-disclosure of commercial secrets or personal data of other employees, to engage in espionage;
  • the severity of the consequences of actions or inaction (bankruptcy of the company, harm to the health of specialists who refused to transfer classified information, and so on);
  • subject of encroachment;
  • method of obtaining information;
  • goals and motives of the act (to get personal profit, to take revenge on the former employer, for example, considering it illegal to dismiss).

Note that an agent who has taken a job with a competitor may be constantly engaged in industrial espionage. It also happens that for a certain remuneration, an employee transmits information constituting a trade secret from time to time. In addition, an employee can give out secrets through negligence, without pursuing any selfish motives, for example, casually tell about the personal life of a colleague at work, which will then be used for blackmail purposes to extract information, other information about the company.

Who is the direct executor of orders for industrial espionage (or is engaged in illegal collection of information)

Agents working for competitors can be:

  • citizens of Russia, near or far abroad;
  • persons without citizenship;
  • full-time employees of companies, organizations, industrial enterprises;
  • employees providing services under civil law contracts;
  • persons engaged in business;
  • employees of the company's own security service;
  • representatives of detective agencies or individuals acting in private.

In some situations, the search for ways to master industrial, commercial information begins at the request of the customer, in others - on their own initiative, for use for selfish purposes (for example, to sell to competitors).

Other points related to industrial espionage

Analysis of the practice of private security services showed a significant demand for the provision of industrial espionage services and the acquisition of collected information for a set fee.

For example, one of the UK private detective agencies at the same time:

  • investigates the facts of economic espionage;
  • ensures the safety of information leakage;
  • is engaged in not always legal methods of obtaining secret information about the activities of competitors.

Similar services began to appear in Russia. Their popularity can grow if they reach the western level of the market economy.

Often, it is the employees of an enterprise or firm that give out trade secrets known to interested competitors. They can have access to documents, classified information about the activities of an organization, an enterprise, and self-interest can serve as motivation to reveal secrets, when it is not necessary to exert special efforts or revenge to obtain large sums.

When hiring people, you should not trust everyone in a row the secrets associated with the organization of activities and planned innovations. The more staff there is, the more likely information leaks from within. Some entrepreneurs create special services that check the data of candidates for available vacancies.

The approach to methods of protecting secrets, owners, managers of state enterprises of organizations, representatives of large, small business, choose independently. You can use the experience of other firms, taking into account your needs and capabilities.

One of the main reasons for the demand for illegal seizure of data on competitors engaged in business or other activities in the same areas of service or production is the desire to realize a competitive advantage. This is the most important condition for achieving success in a market economy and not everyone goes to it in an honest way. Using other people's secrets allows you to save your own money without investing in fundamental research, development of new ideas.