The deputy-director general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, who cannot be named under Australian law, warned attendees of Australia's Security in Government Conference 2008 earlier this week that commercial and national espionage are becoming more intertwined.The deputy-director general, Australia's No. 2 spy, said that geopolitical tensions and ongoing globalization will fuel espionage activity in the years ahead and that spying will affect both the public and private sectors.
"The pressures and opportunities to gain an edge across the public and private sectors -- a distinction, by the way, that not every country recognizes -- will continue to fuel a trade in sensitive information," he said. "The scope of espionage is likely to embrace, but go well beyond, traditional targets such as highly sensitive government information and defense capabilities."
Espionage operations, in other words, will be increasingly directed at businesses.
The deputy-director general foresees the need for greater cooperation between the public and private sectors to defend against foreign intelligence efforts.
He notes that cyberintelligence gathering, because of its low cost and low risk, already is an area of emerging concern. "The reliance of modern systems of government and business on interconnected electronic information systems involves risks of remote penetration," he said.
The deputy-director general's full remarks can be seen here.