Defining Computer Espionage

Computer espionage, a type of cyber-attack, is currently a significant threat to various countries throughout the world, including the United States of America. As a result, numerous institutions such as Congress, the administration, and the business sector must move quickly and jointly to develop a specific response to preserve the diverse interests, which in this case is to secure American economic interests. The reason for this is that cyber espionage is a big expanding threat to the United States of America's economy. Different domestic measures to deter computer espionage targeted at corporate trade secrets require to be combined with a variety of diplomatic actions that often discourage foreign states from tolerating computer espionage. Such initiatives include the

establishing national and international espionage Acts as the effective solutions

Nation Law Scheme of Trade Secret Protection and the Opening of the Economic Espionage Act.

A trade secret is a confident commercially information that is valuable to a company as it provides a competitive advantage of a company against its competitors. Such insights include methods of production, customer lists, chemical formulae, or compilation of information not reasonably ascertainable by others, among other valuable data. In essence, many businesses in the United States suffer billions in dollars due to theft of trade secrets by their employees or other corporate companies in the same industry. As such, Congress under the instructions of the United States government was tasked with adopting comprehensive laws that promote uniformity and specificity to Economic Espionage (Awan, & Blakemore, 2016). Such initiatives are aimed at protecting trade secrets from theft either from local or international entities.

Before the passage of Economic Espionage Act in 1996, it was a requirement from the department of justice to approve all prosecutions under this Act. Moreover, stealing of trade secrets was dealt with at the national level using laws that were not specific to this issue. The commonly used stature was the NSPA, which made it illegal to transport or transmit any goods or merchandise in interstate or foreign commerce. Also, the Attorney General of the criminal division or the Assistant was tasked with go through all the Economic Espionage cases first; this was an assurance to Congress in writing for five years (Krekel, Adams, & Bakos, 2014). When the agreement expired, the Attorney General would renew the requirements for starting such prosecutions; however, prosecutors were encouraged to consult with intellectual property section, and computer crime before filling economic espionage charges.

The Economic Espionage Act was enacted by Congress in 1996 to address the growing concern of domestic and international theft of trade secrets in the United States. The Act separates the stealing of valuable information in two offenses; one, trade secret theft to benefit a foreign organization, and stealing such a secret for economic benefits of another party. The provisions of this Act covers not only the economic advantages of stealing a trade secret but also the strategic, reputational and tactical benefits. As such, the legislative role of Economic Espionage Act is to punish the organizations that misappropriate or attempt to acquire a trade secret. Additionally, the company in question should have prior knowledge that the offense will benefit another party or a foreign organization instrumentally (Li, 2016). It is of the essence to recognize that to trigger an action under the Economic Espionage Act, the information must qualify as a trade secret.

The United States had adopted the Economic Espionage Act before the internet became global. However, as societies advanced to depend more on cyber technologies, there were growing threats of cyber economic espionage identified by experts. There have been many instances where the United States has accused China of engaging in cyber industrial espionage, labeling it as a persistent collector of America’s commercial secrets. The desire to combat the cyber-crimes on an international level was affected by lack of specific laws; also, many countries prefer prohibiting cyber economic espionage under national laws. To help deal with this issue, the United States government have taken federal initiatives to protect the nation from such exposure (Monte, 2015). Such strategies include promoting the private industry with best practice in protecting trade secrets, improving domestic legislation, and focusing on diplomatic efforts.

International Protection of Trade Secrets and TRIPS Agreement

In essence, the intellectual property comprises of all products and services from the mind; the creative and intelligent output from people, groups, and organizations. As such, protection and safeguarding of intellectual property is essential to any business. It encompasses all intellectual and creative output, that is, all products created in mind. Although there are laws such as patent acts, copyright, and trademark that protect intellectual property, they vary widely in different countries. Companies have a right to sue and take actions against illegally acquired and distributed information as provided in the Economic Espionage Act (Awan, & Blakemore, 2016). As a result, the owner of intellectual property can benefit from their creativity and effort as well as ensure that companies maintain a competitive edge over its competitors.

The TRIPS Agreement, which is the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on the intellectual property came into effect in 1995. It is a legal agreement, that is recognized internationally, that is made between all the member countries of World Trade Organization. Essentially, there are various areas of intellectual property covered by this agreement including copyright and related rights, trademarks, patents industrial designs, and geographical indications. The deal sets outs the minimum standards of protection to be provided by each member and the duration. Furthermore, there are provisions dealing with domestic remedies and procedures for enforcement of intellectual property rights (Taylor, Fritsch, & Liederbach, 2014). The final feature of this the TRIPS Agreement is dispute settlement where it makes resolutions about respect of laid obligations and procedures set by the World Trade Organization.

Although many organizations protect their trade secrets efficiently by themselves, they also require strong statures and adequate institutions in the event of misappropriation. For example, a judge will easily identify a trade secret, order appropriate discovery and impose the necessary remedies without improperly disclosing it to third parties. Although there is not enough information on the current laws established to deal with Economic Espionage, there have been reports of difficulties in protecting trade secrets, especially during legal proceedings. Additionally, many victims of trade secret theft have cited insufficiency in mechanisms used for participation between government agencies and courts within the nation and across international borders (Malhotra, 2015). As such, there is a need for effective legal institutions, which help capture the effectiveness of trade secret protection.

Stronger and better-harmonized global statures should be developed to improve incentives for technology transfer. Several studies have been conducted in efforts to determine the impacts of strengthening the norms of international trade secret protection. Moreover, there have been notable improvements in the protection of intellectual property both on domestic and international platforms. For instance, there have been significant advancements that have been made especially in ensuring that the trade secrets do not leak or end up in the wrong hands. In the same way, trade secrets are now protected without procedural formalities, and hence, the information can remain protected for an unlimited duration. Strict conditions for information to be considered as a trade secret which is costly and difficult (Li, 2016). Such enhancements have played a significant role in ensuring that trade secrets are well protected and that artists get to enjoy the benefits of their creative works.

Risks Associated with Doing Business in the Digital Age

It is evident that digitization has significantly impacted the business environment by providing a new set of tools and operations in efforts to elevate performance and increase efficiency. However, there several challenges associated with doing business in the digital world. First, the highly skilled labor force that ensures integrity and security of data system often translate into high operations costs for organizations. Second, there is increased competition since more businesses can easily reach their target customers by using digital platforms. Thirdly, companies are exposed to incurring high losses in case of corruption of data, which can now be stored in systems (Krekel, Adams, & Bakos, 2014). Finally, doing business in the digital age has brought many scandals, an aspect that has led to the introduction of strict regulations that companies must follow.

Recommendations of Different Legislative and Administrative Solutions

There are several measures that should be established in efforts to eliminate theft of trade secrets and intellectual property. The first approach should be the introduction of riles that require businesses to share information regarding cyber threats with the government to create remedies before such attacks. Moreover, sharing of information between different entities will help in formulating excellent solutions that will be used as long-term solutions to such problems. Second, companies should invest more in Cybersecurity in a way that they are aware of the crime ahead of time. As a result, it will be easier to tackle such problems efficiently regardless of the level of sophistication. The third recommendation is creating stronger legal institutions that will make sure trade secrets are protected even during legal proceedings; as such, the business will not lose their valuable information in search of justice.


In the United States, computer espionage and other cyber-attacks have been an increasing threat to the economy. Considering the fact that these risks have the potential to cause considerable losses to the companies and the country, it is of the essence to find effective ways to address such issues. Moreover, with new and sophisticated cyber-crimes, the current strategies put in place are not up to the task. Therefore, it is crucial to develop solutions that will adequately deal with these problems. Stronger legislation, institutions, and signing of diplomatic treaties are among the recommended strategies that can help resolve computer espionage.


Awan, I., & Blakemore, B. (Eds.). (2016). Policing cyber hate, cyber threats and cyber terrorism.


Krekel, B., Adams, P., & Bakos, G. (2014). Occupying the information high ground: Chinese

capabilities for computer network operations and cyber espionage. International Journal

of Computer Research, 21(4), 333.

Li, J. X. (2016). Taxonomy of Cybercrime. Journal of Legal Studies, 1(1), 1-27.

Malhotra, Y. (2015). Cybersecurity & Cyber-Finance Risk Management: Strategies, Tactics,

Operations, &, Intelligence: Enterprise Risk Management to Model Risk Management:

Understanding Vulnerabilities, Threats, & Risk Mitigation (Presentation Slides).

Monte, M. (2015). Computer Network Exploitation. Network Attacks & Exploitation: A

Framework, 1-16.

Taylor, R. W., Fritsch, E. J., & Liederbach, J. (2014). Digital crime and digital terrorism.

Prentice Hall Press.

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