Once you enter into the information gathering process of competitive intelligence, it is important to note that all your methods for collecting data should be legal.
How can industrial or corporate espionage be compared to competitive intelligence? Competitive Intelligence research can be distinguished from industrial espionage, as CI practitioners in general abide by local legal guidelines and ethical business norms.
Keep in mind that the practice of competitive intelligence is designed to be completely legal. It is not ethical to engage in illegal practices, such as espionage, to gather information. On the other side of the spectrum, how would you like it if your competition used illegal methods to gather information about you?