Tools & Technology

Stealing Industry Secrets

It might not be as easy as you think.

Episode 204 | December 11, 2015

Hackers. Spies. Secrets. This is the menacing language of industrial espionage. But how easy is it to plunder a company for its ideas? Not very, says our guest, Douglas O’Reagan, a historian of science and technology. Throughout history, O’Reagan argues, stealing trade secrets has proven more complicated than lifting a blueprint or section of computer code. What makes a company prosperous is usually much harder to grasp.

But first we look at how one company is trying to pass on the skills and secrets responsible for its success. Reporter Susanne Gietl visits the small Bavarian town of Ingolstadt, headquarters of German automaker Audi. There she finds hundreds of Mexican workers learning skills, secrets, and the “German way” to build cars so they can bring that knowledge back to Mexico.

Join us for a trip to the murky world of technology transfer.


Hosts: Michal Meyer and Bob Kenworthy
Guest: Douglas O’Reagan
Reporter: Susanne Gietl
Producer: Mariel Carr
Associate Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez
Music courtesy of the Audio Network
“Odyssey” by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0