The Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law (Freiburg, Germany) is conducting a comprehensive comparative research project about the regulation and control of economic espionage (in a wider sense including any form of industrial spying) in the 28 European Union member states and Switzerland. The research project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany (BMBF). The phenomenon of economic espionage is as diffuse and ambiguous as the terminology. Besides scenarios of ‘classic’ espionage by intelligence agencies of a foreign state it also includes incidents of competitive (corporate) espionage, commercial spying or industrial theft. The crimes in focus have a mixed character, which combines elements of crimes against state security (traditional approach) and economic crime (modern approach). In addition they are located at the intersection of conventional (physical) crime and cybercrime. As a consequence, penal regulation is often fragmented. The same is true with regard to jurisdiction and the applicable procedural rules which sometimes also involve aspects of political expediency.
Dr Gerard Coffey, Lecturer in Law and member of the Centre for Crime, Justice and Victim Studies in UL has been invited to participate in this project which involves the delivery of a report on the situation in Ireland.