Espionage or spying involves a government or individual obtaining information considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, as it is taken for granted that it is unwelcome and, in many cases illegal and punishable by law. It is a subset of intelligence gathering—which otherwise may be conducted from public sources and using perfectly legal and ethical means.
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The New York Times reports that the Starwood breach was part of a larger state-sponsored intelligence-gathering effort spurred ...