Both are 'illlegal' says the SEC. before 1934 the year that the SEC was created by the new deal administration, insider trading and front running was NOT ILLEGAL. and that was the professional advantage versus amateurs. or retail participants. Why is it illegal? Cause fair markets was the name of the game, and the gov't i the 1930's wanted a fair market. so nobody had an unfair 'advantage' over the 'public' the SEC only has jurisdiction over securities traded on 'public exchanges' ..Securities EXCHANGE 'commission' if a security is traded or listed in the 'EXCHANGE' then it's the SEC problem. not the gov't or anyone else like the FBI or FTC federal trade 'commission' guns are under the jurisdiction of ATF..alcohol , tobacco, and firearms, why cause alcohol and tobacco taxes is 10% of gov't TAX revenue. and firearms, criminals and ex-cons are banned from owning guns. Front running and insider trading is the way professional trade before SEC made it illegal and it was gaurantee profits. no risk. with front running, professionals are minutes or hours ahead of the 'press release' before the public gets the information...the value of information. ( wall street movie) nobody is really harmed in front running or insider trading. only problem is these professionals would be harassing company executive and employees for 'information' and paying 'bribes' to news outlets to get 'news' before it goes to the public. then you have 'corrupt market' where bribes to insiders and news agencies for valuable information. professionals pay for information. Traders and your trades are not private. and insiders have to disclose their trades to their company that they work for or they can get fired for insider trading or worse prison if SEC enforces insider ill gotten gains from insider information. martha stewart did 6 months in club med prison for insider trading.