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Companies bug rivals’ offices: Assocham

To gain advantage over their competitors,companies engage in "espionage",says survey.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published: June 14, 2012 9:16:05 pm

In order to gain advantage over their competitors,companies across various sectors engage in “espionage” like “bugging offices of their rivals by planting a mole”,says a survey by industry body Assocham.

The survey added employees are also spied on by the bosses through social networking sites.

The survey,involving 1,500 CEOs across various sectors,was carried out by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) during the January-May period in Ahmedabad,Bangalore,Chennai,Delhi-NCR and Mumbai.

Besides the top bosses,Assocham also interacted with about 200 private eye agencies,corporate spooks,detective firms,surveillance agencies and trained sleuths.

“About a quarter of respondents said they have hired computer experts for installing monitoring software to hack and crack the networks,track e-mails of their rivals and perform other covert activities,” the survey said.

The demand for spying is led by companies in IT-BPO,infrastructure,FMCG,banking,insurance,manufacturing and telecom sectors as they have large database,sensitive networks and information on marketing and sales strategies,the survey said.

“Almost all the company representatives in these domains acknowledged the prevalence of industrial espionage to gain access to information and steal trade secrets of their competitors through private deals with sleuths and spy agencies,” Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said in a statement.

About 1,200 respondents said they take services of detectives to spy on their employees’ lifestyle,keep a tab on their whereabouts apart from the usual pre and post-employment verification,it added.

“A staggering 1,110 respondents said they use social networking sites to dig out relevant information and keep a track of their rival companies and employees,” the survey added.

While about 900 said that apart from social media monitoring they indulge in corporate espionage and bug offices of their rivals by planting a mole in other companies.

“Most of these said they generally plant people in minor job profiles like receptionists,peon,photo-copier and others,” it added.

Many employers said they have invested significant amount in installing spying gadgets in their office establishments to monitor website connections,phone calls and records,e-mails and review computer files of their employees and maintain a record of the same.

Assocham said demand for spying gadgets in India is rising at about 30 per cent and the market for spying equipment is currently poised at about Rs 4,500 crore.

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