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espionage, cybercrime, transnational crime, international law, state crime


Transnational state-sponsored cyber economic espionage poses a threat to the economy of developed countries whose industry is largely reliant on the value of information. In the face of rapid technological development facilitating cyber economic espionage from afar on a massive scale, the law has not developed apace to effectively address this problem. Applicable United States domestic laws have been ineffective in addressing the problem due to lack of enforcement jurisdiction, sovereign immunity, and inability to hold the state sponsor accountable. Customary international law principles offer little help in combatting the issue, as countermeasures are typically unavailable since espionage may not be ongoing by the time a victimized state can confidently attribute it to a state and retortions are a relatively weak response. Although existing treaties have not been effective in addressing this problem, a multilateral global treaty specifically addressing transnational state-sponsored cyber economic espionage may be a promising way forward.

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This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Security Journal. The final authenticated version is available online at: