According to Wikipedia.org espionage is the practice of obtaining information about an organization or a society that is considered secret or confidential (spying) without the permission of the holder of the information.
Types of Electronic Espionage
There are various types of electronic espionage. There are telephone taps, wired microphones, tape recorders, RF bugs, and keywatchers just to name a few. Telephone taps are simply turning the telephone into a microphone so someone else can hear from another room. Wired microphones are those that one would see in the movie were someone has a microphone taped to their body. Tape recorders, though outdated are just like wired microphones. RF bugs are minature radios that transmit at a set frequency to another receiver. Key watchers log what has been typed into a keyboard and can be used to get such things a passwords and other information based on what the person has typed on their keyboard.
Some of the ethical issues that deal with esponiage are public versus private (i.e. how electronics are used). Two examples of this are when Wise Solutions used a password of an employee from InstallShield to gain access to a database of InstallShield to get customer information, mailing lists, and other confedential information.
Another example of this is "Memogate." The term used for the scandal when Manuel Miranda accessed files to a confediential folder on his network places. He knew that this was a glitch in security, yet continued to access the files in order to show wrong doing within government at the time. Read more of Dahlia Lithwick's article,
Other ethical issues involve actually doing counter espionage and other information warfare. Many people say that during times of war all is fair game. But is this true? Read Dr. Dan Kuehl's article on The Ethics of Information Warfare and Statecraft and decide for yourself.
Protection against espionage
Then United States has taken great measures to protect itself against epsionage in the past. With new technology and the world getting smaller, electronic espionage is the new danger in exposing US secrets. President Bush adopted a "preemtive counterintelligence strategy" just like the one he has for terrorism.
Another way that the government catches hackers, crackers, and other electronic spies is through honeypots. Shauank Joshi has devolopled a website that describes this type of protection extensively.This link will take you to his website on honeypots.