Competitive Intelligence

Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries

USA Today Article on Corporate Espionage: Time for Damage Control Again?

Curious as to people's thoughts on today's USA Today article on "corporate espionage." http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/computersecurity/2009-07-28-corpo... While the article doesn't directly link the CI discipline to the subversive information gathering tactics featured in the article, it will no doubt once again raise the perception that CI is nothing more than corporate spying. Thoughts on what the CI profession, SCIP, and all of us should be doing on a regular basis to continue to dispel these associations?

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Question: is this really doing damage? As far as I know, every 15 months some new journalist at a major publication thinks it's "cool" to write about "spy guys." They write the same article over and over again. And yet leaders still need good information to understand their business environment, which of course has nothing to do with dumpster diving. Is there a measurable damage to the industry?

It's exactly like the forecasting business. Every 6 - 18 months somebody (WIRED, Economist, USA Today) writes a hit piece about how "freaky" it is that there are ACTUAL PEOPLE who, like, THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE. Isn't that weird? Like, they obsess about stuff three whole years into the future, and like, write SCENARIOS. Freaks. Meanwhile, mortgage markets collapse right on schedule, Boomers move to retire, as predicted, but looking at the future is still portrayed with the same credibility as nudist colonies.

In both cases, I have decided you just have to keep proving value and ignore the dillettant junior journalists and their sensationalist editors, people who can discuss anything for five minutes, and nothing for twenty. CI practitioners must work on providing GOOD publicity and ignoring the rest.

Now, who provides publicity for CI?
I think WE do our own publicity these days Eric - the active engagement of an enthusiastic cadre of thinkers such as has accrued herein can have the kinds of discussions Ken initiated without fear of "damaging the profession"... quite honestly, I see this is as a marketing opportunity.
Thinking about publicity for CI is one of my favorite hobbies...

I just took two steps back and tried to look at the term intelligence once more and what effects it has on our profession. Because I compiled some thoughts that might go beyond pure damage control I will post my "thoughts on what the CI profession, SCIP, and all of us should be doing on a regular basis to continue to dispel these associations" as a new discussion.
Analyzing Byron Acohido's article Tech gadgets help corporate spying surge in tough times, have you stopped at the following Chuck Thomas's picture?

I've even compared the tech gadget shown in the above picture with the following one used by Hercule Poirot, for example, in the second episode of the fourth season ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094525/episodes#season-4 ). :-)


Best,
Tad
http://fedcba.ning.com/
BWA HA HA HA - Hercule Poirot!!!!!!

Yes, researching market share and doing patent searches sure is dashing daring and SEXILICIOUS.

Call the press!
Hi, Eric, let me bridge the distance between social network Competitive Intelligence. Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries ( http://competitiveintelligence.ning.com/ ) and social network Multilingual Studies at a Distance. Students and Academics of All Countries, Unite! :-) ( http://fedcba.ning.com/ ) anew ( http://fedcba.ning.com/xn/detail/2516803:Comment:5521 ). :-)

Best,
Tad
Let me bridge the distance between social network Competitive Intelligence. Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries ( http://competitiveintelligence.ning.com/ ) and social network Multilingual Studies at a Distance. Students and Academics of All Countries, Unite! :-) ( http://fedcba.ning.com/ ) once again ( http://fedcba.ning.com/xn/detail/2516803:Comment:5929 ).

Unfortunately, our summer vacation 2009 with Hercule Poirot ( http://fedcba.ning.com/forum/topics/one-of-our-tutorshercule ) is nearly over. :-(

Fortunately, the academic year 2009/2010 is just around the corner: hence there will be developed at least one new featured group ( http://fedcba.ning.com/groups ), namely Organization and functioning of security and safety systems ( http://triton.cs.put.poznan.pl/platon/files/opisyPrzedmiotow/ib_dzi... ). :-)

Best,
Tad
Sneaky spies with their high-tech devices. Telescope invented 1611. Wondering what other high-tech wonders will be incorporated into CI in the coming years. Ball-point pens, carbon paper, and the like.

The article comments on the sneaky modified USB cables which include a wireless transmitter for sending copies of documents printed.

Isn't it funny that nobody writes articles about simply MARKING the documents you wish to protect? I'd venture to say 90% of corporate documents do not bother with markings like CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, or the like? I once had to explain the terms CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, and TRADE SECRET to a lawyer while writing a CI-Specific ethics policy. They had just never thought about the issue.

So we worry about phone taps, James Bond autographed USB cords, but can't use Microsoft Word to put PROPRIETARY on a document footer?

Funny stuff.

I'm reminded of the Soviet KGB Station Chief for Washington DC. After the dissolution of the USSR, he published a book indicating they had very poor success recruiting spies in the US, and that most of the intelligence they reported to the Kremlin was gleaned from the newspaper, because Soviets who had not lived in the US could not conceive of such things being published in the press.

Washington Station-My Life as a KGB Spy in America
by Yuri B. Shvets (Author) (Eugene Ostrovsky, Translator)
Oh yeah, the Soviet "spies" made a living going to the Library of Congress and getting stuff from the Department of Agriculture - simply stats on corn production. Their KGB bosses LOVED the stuff, gave them all kinds of crazy bonuses and such, because they couldn't envision a government just printing information about its economy like that.

No theft required!
However,

"You also know," the general went on, "that relations between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. are not good. The U.S. does not allow Soviet attachés to travel in the U.S., but it does allow us Poles to travel. That is why you can be so valuable to us. You will learn things which not even the great Soviet Union can learn by herself. You must seize on this opportunity, Comrade Monat. You must travel everywhere. You must listen. You must dig deep under the surface to find the secrets. You must steal them if necessary. Do not stop at anything to carry out your orders."
Spy in the U.S. By Pawel Monat with John Dille. Harper & Row, Publishers, New York and Evanston, 1962. Library of Congress catalog card number: 61-10211, p. 3
Hi, Eric and Mark, I couldn't agree more with you--also Competitive Intelligence professionals are masters of many things except "rough stuff" ( http://fedcba.ning.com/xn/detail/2516803:Comment:4901 ). ;-)
Hello, Ken, "what all of us should be doing on a regular basis to continue to dispel these associations?" Let's begin by dispelling Amazon's associations "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought." At http://www.amazon.com/Corporate-Espionage-Happening-Company-About/d... , they emphasize that customers who bought Ira Winkler's Corporate Espionage: What It Is, Why It's Happening in Your Company, What You Must Do About It also bought Larry Kahaner's Competitive Intelligence : How to Gather, Analyze, and Use Information to Move Your Business to the Top.

Incidentally, admire the variety of twenty pages of books bought by customers who bought Larry Kahaner's Competitive Intelligence : How to Gather, Analyze, and Use Information to Move Your Business to the Top ( http://www.amazon.com/Competitive-Intelligence-Analyze-Information-... ).

Best wishes,
Tad
http://innovate-ideagora.ning.com/xn/detail/2216838:Comment:10513

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