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U.S. surveillance programs are killing the tech industry

Rob Enderle | June 16, 2015
The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, ranked as the most authoritative science and technology think tank in the U.S. (second in the world behind Max Planck Institutes of Germany), has just released its latest report on the impact of the existence and disclosure of the broad NSA national and international spying programs.

Verizon was dropped by a large number German government facilities for fear Verizon would open them up to wiretapping and other surveillance.

NSA surveillance hurts U.S., creates opportunity for competing foreign firms

This has created significant opportunity for foreign firms competing with U.S. firms.

For instance, Hortensecurity (Germany) now markets itself as "Cloud Services Made in Germany" and safe from the NSA.

Cloudwatt (France) has joined a nationalistic consortium of companies called "Sovereign Cloud" (cool name) and advertises as being resistant to NSA spying.

F-Secure. which competes with Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive, has altered its marketing to include the language that they will not share data with the U.S. government as they move against these U.S. firms.

Additional findings include broad protectionist measures in a variety of regions using this disclosure to lock U.S. firms out of the country and favor local firms and the creation of anti-U.S. technology networks.

In addition, the governments are aggressively funding domestic startups that can replace U.S. companies in their country. Australia, China, Russia, and India have passed laws making it illegal for personal information to be stored out of the country making it far more difficult for U.S. firms to do business there. China further launched an IOE movement to prevent banks from buying from IBM, Oracle and EMC.

Government surveillance might just cripple and eliminate U.S. tech dominance

The report concludes that these changes taken in total will cripple and could virtually eliminate U.S. dominance in technology internationally. While it does not address what U.S. companies are doing, it is likely many of them are looking at U.S. tech companies adversely because of the double hit of both the spying program and the inability to adequately secure either the information about the program itself or information in general (thus the information that was captured is also at risk).  

The irony here is that if the U.S. loses the technology industry and it moves to Asia and Europe the U.S. spy agencies will lose virtually all of their spying digital capability anyway, or it will drop to the same level as a non-tech third-world country, because they won't be able to force the foreign firms to give them inside access.  

It could also be noted that they will also lose the capability to develop leading tech-based tools and weapons as those skills also migrate out of the U.S. So, in a foolish effort to make the country safer, not only is the collateral damage unacceptable to the U.S. economy it will likely result in a dramatically reduced intelligence capability. This is a level of self-correction the U.S. might not recover from.


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