Corporate Espionage by Drone: Why Corporations Need Better Physical and Legal Protections

36 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2021

See all articles by Claire Scott

Claire Scott

University of Mississippi, School of Law

Date Written: January 24, 2021


Today, corporate espionage has taken on a new, and more dangerous form, by using drones as the medium to conduct trade secret misappropriation and cyber-attacks against unsuspecting businesses. Drones allow for physical and cyber-attacks to be carried out with ease. They are cheap, easily accessible, and easy to use. Drones can be utilized in the stealing of trade secrets, consumer information, or even cause an interruption in the business’s daily processes - each costing the corporation tremendously. Part II of this Comment will provide a brief overview of relevant trade secret law, including the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, the Economic Espionage Act, and the Defend Trade Secrets Act, and discuss traditional and modern corporate espionage tactics. Part II will also cover the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and discuss the basic rules drone pilots must obey. Part III will discuss the problems arising for corporations when bad actors use drones for espionage and cyber-attacks, and present that counter-drone technology should be available to American businesses as it is a justified form of self-help. Part IV will provide a short synopsis of the counter-arguments against counter-drone technology use, and discuss the mitigation and other uses of counter-drone technology in other industries.

Drones will become the future of corporate espionage and corporations need to have the resources necessary to protect themselves from this current, and only growing, threat. The use of C-UAS technology is a proactive step, which is more beneficial to the company, than the traditional and ill-fitting reactive steps currently available. C-UAS technology is justifiable self-help, necessary for the protection of trade secrets.

Keywords: drones, counter-drone systems, corporate espionage, trade secrets, self-help

Suggested Citation

Scott, Claire, Corporate Espionage by Drone: Why Corporations Need Better Physical and Legal Protections (January 24, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Claire Scott (Contact Author)

University of Mississippi, School of Law ( email )

MS 38677
United States

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