Espionage is using spies to gather information that the holder of information (usually a government or corporation) considers secret or confidential. Espionage has been around since ancient history. And today many nations routinely gather information about both their enemies and allies. The U.S. Espionage Act (18 U.S.C. 793 et seq.) is a federal law that prohibits various types of espionage-related activities against the United States. According to the Act, espionage is "the act of obtaining, delivering, transmitting, communicating, or receiving information about the national defense with an intent, or reason to believe, that the information may be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.