Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

Sweden: U.S. Industrial Espionage Is Confronted

17 June 1999. Thanks to Laszlo Baranyi for translation.

English translation of a report in the Swedish newspaper Datateknik, June 10, 1999, "USAs Industrispionage ställs mot väggen":

U.S. Industrial Espionage Is Confronted

By Göran Andersson

The Swedish government will investigate if the U.S. uses signals intelligence, meant for national security purposes, in a way that is a disadvantage for Swedish corporations. A highly controversial report about signals intelligence was given to the European Parliament, and has now reached the Sweden's Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

[Text of image of the front-page of the EuroParl report.] In a report written for the European Parliament it is claimed that information from United States military signals intelligence is used to benefit American corporations. The report contains several examples on how information from espionage has been used for business-related purposes.

The United States National Security Agency (NSA) has used signals intelligence to intercept internal information from European corporations (Thomson and Airbus). This information has later been handed over to American corporations which then has succeeded to take home important affairs according to the report Interception Capabilities 2000 (IC 2000).

- "The foreign department will look at the report. It is serious matter if information meant for political security purposes would be misused in this way," says Niklas Johansson, political expert at the ministry for Foreign Affairs

- "It is serious if these claims are true. Our problem is to find out if they really are true," says Niklas Johansson.

SÄPO [Sweden's version of CIA] has earlier been assigned to find out if Sweden's industry is subject to industrial espionage from foreign countries. SÄPO has however so far not reported anything that corresponds to the information's that now is in IC 2000. The first news articles about IC 2000 appeared a few weeks ago and also in U.S. The report has also created loud discussions even in Denmark.

IC 2000, now available at, explains in detail for how advanced signals intelligence works, and has grown up. Now, there are 120 satellites at work that intercept the telephone network and Internet. Even optical cables across the sea are intercepted.

The report even says that it is possibly to identify individuals by using voice recognition. By using signals intelligence from satellites it is possible to intercept phonecalls. The collected information is then processed in a grand scale by computers, to extract the important information.

U.S. has established a global network and co-operates mainly with Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. According to the report, advanced signals intelligence is also carried out by 30 countries including Russia and China. The yearly cost for the signal intelligence is estimated to 140 - 180 milliard crowns (15-20 billion Euro) and the main part goes to the U.S. lead signals intelligence operation, often called Echelon It has been long known that grand scale signals intelligence has been used. But the political sensitive part is if the information is then used for industrial political purposes. IC 2000 gives several examples that this is the case.

* In Australia it is reported how the information has been used during negotiations with Japanese buyers of iron and coal.

* The American company, US Raytheon Corporation, (which amongst other things maintains the satellites) received a milliard contract [see the figures in the Swedish report. Milliard in Swedish is not necessary the same as in US] in Brazil since the interception revealed a competing foreign corporation. The foreign corporation was then claimed to have bribed Brazilian government members.

* Fax and telephone traffic between the European flight consortium Airbus and the Saudi Arabian government and the Saudi Arabian airline was intercepted. It showed that Airbus bribed Saudis. The information was forwarded further. The American corporations Boeing and MCDonnel Douglas wan the battle of a contract worth $6 billion.

IC 2000 points on several other examples where the American government has used information from the intelligence service to help the nation's own corporations. It spans everything from the upcoming pollution limitations for Japanese cars to the GATT negotiations.

The obvious question is naturally if this controversial information is true, and how the European parliament will handle it. According to press spokesmen in the European Parliament, there is no decision on whether the Parliament really shall process the factual information in IC 2000 and take a stand on if it is true or not.

U.S. signals intelligence was a big discussion issue already at the European Parliament's big discussion last year on the cooperation between the European Union and the U.S. IC 2000 will surely give more arguments at coming Parliament discussions.

The report has been made on behalf of the European Parliament investigation office STOA (Scientific and Technical Options Assessment programme office). It is not known that any of the governments within EU has taken a position in the matter.

Author: The author of the Swedish original article is Göran Andersson. He is a freelance journalist with the telecom market as a speciality.


Reference: The original Swedish article was published in Datateknik, 10th of June, 1999, "USAs Industrispionage ställs mot väggen":


Translated by Laszlo Baranyi, PGP key 3CEAEF2C.

The full IC 2000 report can also be found at:

or Zipped-compressed: