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Business

Government and business team up against espionage

Faced with increasing rates of espionage attempts directed at companies, German government and business leaders have agreed on hammering out a joint protection strategy. Raising awareness is the first objective.

The German government and business organizations agreed on Wednesday that domestic companies needed stronger protection from espionage and cyber crime. They signed a declaration on hammering out a joint defense strategy and pooling resources for the most efficient infrastructure to ward off risks.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said it was of pivotal importance to raise awareness for the threats particularly among small and medium-sized companies across the nation which tended to ignore or underestimate the scope of the problem.

"Spying attacks on companies can potentially lead to a painful drop in competitiveness and market distortions," Friedrich said in a statement. "And it is bound to result in the loss of jobs, so we have to protect against it."

No time to waste

"Protecting against global assaults on companies is of the essence in a highly industrialized country like Germany," said the head of the Association of German Industry (BDI), Ulrich Grillo. "Only if business and the government work together on a voluntary basis, there'll be a chance of mastering the complex security challenges we're faced with."

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The Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) added putting an efficient security infrastructure in place should not be viewed by smaller firms as a way of wasting money.

"The costs those firms might incur through espionage and the resulting theft of intellectual property and know-how tend to be much higher than the investment in a good security setup," DIHK President Eric Schweitzer emphasized.

The Interior Ministry, the BDI and the DIHK are aiming to set up a joint steering group for the project which will also be open for other interested organizations.

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