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Research in Focus

Project on Economic and Industrial Espionage:

The threat posed by economic and industrial espionage, not to mention the associated material and immaterial damages it can cause, have increasingly received the attention of politicians and industry representatives. Nevertheless, up-to-date research is lacking at both an inter­national and national level. To expand knowledge in this field, the Institute’s Department of Criminology is currently conducting a project on Economic and Industrial Espionage in Germany and Europe (WiSKoS). Recognizing the project’s subject and relevance, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, via its funding program "Research for Civil Security", is providing approximately half a million euros in support. The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, the Federal Criminal Police Office, the State Criminal Police Office of Baden-Wuerttemberg, and the Saxon Police College are also involved in the research collaboration.

The module-based project focuses on the legal and statistical comparison of the current threat level of victimization for European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Another exploratory focus assesses the particular protective needs of scientific organizations.

The methodically and thematically multifaceted inquiry aims to sensitize SMEs and scientific organizations about espionage in all its facets. It also seeks to analyze and optimi­ze cooperative structures amongst victimized companies and/or organizations on the one hand and the competent political and/or legal authorities on the other.

The results of each of the three project phases (country screening, multi-level evaluation, extended survey of unreported crime) will be published as separate monographies. The ultimate goal of WiSKoS is to create three manuals covering the particular needs of the stakeholders (authorities, scientific organizations, and SMEs) in order to improve cooperation and prevention.

The project has already resulted in several publications and presentations, e.g.:

  • Carl, S., Kilchling, M., Knickmeier, S. & Wallwaey, E. (2017): Wirtschaftsspionage und Konkurrenzausspähung in Deutschland und Europa, series "research in brief | forschung aktuell", 137 p.
  • Carl, S. (2017): An unacknowledged crisis – economic and industrial espionage in Europe, in: Spinellis et al. (eds.): Europe in Crisis: crime, criminal justice and the way forward, p. 755-761.
  • Kilchling, M. & Carl, S. (2016): Wirtschaftsspionage und Konkur­renz­ausspähung in Deutschland und Europa (WiSKoS), in: P. Zoche, S. Kaufmann & H. Arnold (Hrsg.): Grenzenlose Sicherheit? Gesellschaftliche Dimensionen der Sicherheitsforschung, S. 183-196.

Further publications are in preparation.

Latest Publication

Access to Tele­com­mu­ni­ca­tion Data in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice

A Compar­a­tive Analysis of European Legal Orders

Ulrich Sieber / Nicolas von zur Mühlen (eds.)

771 pages; Berlin, 2016.

Access to telecommunication data is an essential and powerful inves­ti­ga­tive tool in criminal justice. At the same time, the inter­cep­tion of such data can seriously affect individual privacy. This is true not only with respect to content data but with respect to traffic data as well. The legal instruments and provisions that allow the gathering of these data are primarily the traditional rules on the inter­cep­tion of tele­com­munica­tion based on the cooperation duties of tele­com­munica­tion providers. In addition, access to tele­com­munica­tion data can also be granted by rules on remote forensic software, by search and seizure of – tempo­rar­ily or permanently – stored data, and (esp. in cases of traffic and subscriber data) by pro­duc­tion orders de­mand­ing the delivery of stored data.
The rules governing these inter­cep­tion techniques vary consider­a­bly among the national legal orders. These differences are not only most interesting from the per­spec­tive of fundamental re­search in the area of com­par­a­tive criminal law but also for practical reasons, such as identifying best practices and evaluating the scope of international cooperation.
This publication provides a com­par­a­tive analysis dealing with the commonalities and differences of these rules on inter­cep­tion and other means of access to tele­com­munica­tion data. It also includes country reports on the following European legal orders on which this comparison is based: Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

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  • Last update: 21 September 2017
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