Espionage – What it is, definition and concept | 2023

Espionage is a technique that consists of carrying out a series of secret activities in order to gather various information about a person or State.

Espionage is a very old technique, used between friends and especially between enemies. It is about, without raising the suspicion of the person who receives it, obtaining data, images, strategies, or any information in general to use it for their own benefit and take advantage of the rival in the context in which it is used. It is important to emphasize the context, espionage is not only used for conventional wars, but also in economic and social conflicts.

It is a concept widely used in international relations in its broadest sense. They are a series of techniques and tactics that are used against both friends and enemies, and not only against the latter.

Because the international context is very changing, not only the enemy is spied on, but also allies who in the future may represent a threat, even more so, in a world as globalized as today.

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Based on the description proposed above, we can mention that espionage has the following characteristics:

  • It consists of a series of techniques, such as infiltration or wiretapping.
  • With it, data, images, sounds or any type of information of interest are collected.
  • They are used to take advantage of the enemy’s tactics.
  • It has been used throughout the history of modern humanity.
  • It can be used in contexts of war, economic or social conflicts.
  • Cyber ​​espionage is a technique widely used in recent years.
  • The Cold War is a paradigmatic example of these techniques.
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types of espionage

Given that espionage, the act of seeing and secretly gathering information from another adversary, is a very broad term, it is possible to classify the different types and techniques used:

  • Infiltration: It is perhaps the best known way, it is about passing an agent from one side as a friend or belonging to another, in which he infiltrates. He has to be especially careful not to be found out, which is why the elaboration of the new identity is key. It is also used in journalism, in order to obtain information about very dangerous and impervious groups of the population. Also in the police, to stop and dismantle criminal gangs.
  • you listen: It is a question of intervening the communication lines of the spied, thus listening to their telephone conversations. This seeks to know key aspects such as dates, times, attendees or tactics. It is used a lot in the police world.
  • industrial espionage: In the technological era in which we find ourselves, progress in this sector is vital so as not to be left behind and lose quality of life or be absorbed by other countries. There is certain technology that is only developed by a few countries, making it more expensive for the rest. Well, industrial espionage tries to gather all the information regarding the process that follows the creation of certain technology, thus trying to dismantle the monopoly or oligopoly that other powers may have.
  • cyber espionage: This type is also quite recent, it is carried out through the internet. With this, computers and information stored by companies, politicians, major international figures, etc. can be intervened. Normally in order to blackmail those who suffer it.
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