June 9, 2013

Popular Mechanics: Why the NSA Prism Program Could Kill U.S. Tech Companies

This prism is destructive.
Unintended Consequences reasserts its ugly head validity.  Popular Mechanics was quick off the mark to point out that the government spying via the Prism program could really hurt some of America's most successful companies.  One has to wonder - is this an ingenious plot of a socialist president to destroy yet another sector of the American private economy? If so, his ineptitude is actually evil, socialist brilliance.

Popular Mechanics asserts the argument:
How much should we worry about a program that is aimed at monitoring the digital communications of foreigners? We should worry quite a bit, because this issue goes far beyond just respecting the civil liberties of non-Americans.

Think for a second about just how the U.S. economy has changed in the last 40 years. While a large percentage of our economy is still based in manufacturing, some of the most ascendant U.S. companies since the 1970s have been in the information technology sector. Companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google are major exporters of information services (if you can think of such a thing as "exportable") through products such as Gmail, iCloud, Exchange, and Azure. Hundreds of millions of people use these services worldwide, and it has just been revealed to everybody outside the U.S. that our government reserves the right to look into their communications whenever it wants.

If you lived in Japan, India, Australia, Mexico, or Brazil, and you used Gmail, or synced your photos through iCloud, or chatted via Skype, how would you feel about that? Let's say you ran a business in those countries that relied upon information services from a U.S. company. Don't these revelations make using such a service a business liability? In fact, doesn't this news make it a national security risk for pretty much any other country to use information services from companies based in the U.S.? How should we expect the rest of the world to react?

Here's a pretty good guess: Other countries will start routing around the U.S. information economy by developing, or even mandating, their own competing services. In 2000, the European Union worked out a series of "Safe Harbor" regulations mandating privacy protection standards for companies storing E.U. citizens' data on servers outside of the E.U. For U.S. companies, that means applying stronger privacy protection for European data than for our own citizens' data. And now there is considerable reason to believe that Prism violated our Safe Harbor agreements with the E.U.

Has it come to this?
Indeed it has.  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share This