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- The use of clandestine methods to acquire secret information for commercial advantage.
1899 April 29, “What Our Consuls are Doing for American Trade”, in Scientific American, page 261:
- The American Consul at Leipzig requested the Chamber of Commerce of that city to furnish him with certain information concerning the preparation of rabbit’s skin for the hat trade. The Chamber replied that, although it was desirous of promoting the trade of Germany with foreign countries, it must, as a matter of principle, decline to furnish technical reports on German manufactures that would be likely to assist foreign competitors. The Leipziger Faerber Zeitung published the following, headed “Unfair Competition & Industrial Espionage" by the Consuls of the United States.”
- Spying by an employer on labor union activities of employees and on labor unions. [c 1920-1960]
- Spying on industrial activities for military advantage. [from c 1935]
use of clandestine methods to acquire secret information for commercial advantage