Office technology makes it much easier for workers to steal important information from their employers, a study has shown.
Research into intellectual property theft found that almost 70% of people have stolen key information from work.
The most pilfered items include e-mail address books, customer databases as well as proposals and presentations.
Many of those questioned said they used office e-mail to get the stolen information off company premises.
Most of those stealing important information said they did so when they were leaving a firm to take up a new job.
The majority of those questioned, 72%, had no ethical problems stealing information to help them in a new post. Most, 58%, thought that, in moral terms, it ranked with exaggerating insurance claims.
“The surprising thing is the level to which people believe this is acceptable,” said Chris Watson of data forensics firm Ibas, which commissioned the survey.
He said that many thought that they were entitled to take information with them because they had helped win customers and create databases of sales leads.
“They have invested a lot of time putting it together and that’s why they feel they have ownership of it,” he said. Over 80% of those surveyed said this input justified their theft.