Intelligence agencies, however, are not so encumbered. Chinese and
Russian spies are out looking for recently fired IT workers, or anyone else
with access to useful information, that are willing to supplement their
unemployment benefits by trading company secrets for cash. Counter-intelligence
operatives are also out there, trying to detect these transactions, and arrange
for some well-publicized prosecutions. This is believed to discourage selling corporate
goodies to anyone, especially foreign spies.
Every cloud has a silver lining, and spies are finding the current
world-wide economic recession an opportunity to obtain corporate secrets and
technology from the many employees who are losing their jobs. A recent survey
of British IT (Information Technology, namely computers) workers found that 60
percent would take company secrets with them if they got fired. This despite
the fact that doing so is illegal, and many such information thieves get caught
when they try to sell their stolen secrets. That's because most companies will not
buy the stuff, but will help the police nail the seller. This bit of corporate
altruism is based on the fact that all these companies know they are vulnerable
to such theft, and are breaking the law if they buy such pilfered goodies.
Better to close ranks and help the police catch and prosecute the thieves.