espionage | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminal Law

In the criminal law context, espionage refers to the act of gathering, transmitting, or losing information that is of a sensitive or classified nature with the intent or reason to believe that the information may be used to the advantage of a foreign nation or to the disadvantage of one’s own country.

Espionage can take many forms, such as stealing classified documents, passing along secret information to foreign agents, or even failing to properly secure classified information.

Espionage is considered a serious crime, and it can carry severe penalties. It is often considered a form of treason and can be punishable by life imprisonment or even the death penalty in some jurisdictions.

In most countries, espionage is a crime that is punished under national security laws. These laws are designed to protect a country’s secrets and sensitive information from being obtained by foreign governments or other entities that may use the information to harm the country.

Espionage can be committed by individuals or by organizations, and it can be done for various reasons, such as for monetary gain or for ideological reasons. It can also be committed both domestically and internationally.

Espionage often involves using covert means to gather information, such as wiretaps, hidden cameras, or hacking into computer systems. It is important to note that the law can vary depending on the jurisdiction, some countries have a distinction between peace-time and war-time espionage, and some others have varying definitions of what constitutes classified information.

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Last Modified: 01/09/2023


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