Competitive intelligence vs government intelligence

Since I posted about Wikileaks and competitive intelligence, the battles around Wikileaks have embroiled more combatants. An issue about open access to government information has stepped closer to the realm of corporate intelligence. In part because Wikileaks is believed to have information about Bank of America, and in part because Anonymous, an independent group who support Wikileaks, has targeted a number of companies that seemed unfriendly to Wikileaks.

In the latest installment (a fascinating article, also see here), three private companies have had their plans to destroy Anonymous outed. The companies planned a wide range of eyebrow-raising tactics against Anonymous.

The story is fun to follow, but this level of intelligence and counterintelligence goes beyond normal competitive intelligence. Apart from the very large budgets involved, it is one thing for a company to consider attacking an ethereal underground group with support from the US government, and quite another for two companies to attack each other. Even a company as thorough as Oracle is more likely to seek results through organisation and hard work than illegal subterfuge. It does happen, but rarely.