US technology companies are getting hit harder than anticipated by revelations about surveillance programs led by the National Security Agency, a study showed Tuesday.
The study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington think tank, said the impact would be greater than its estimate nearly two years ago of losses for the cloud computing sector.
In 2013, the think tank estimated that US cloud computing firms could lose between $22 billion and $35 billion in overseas business over three years.
It now appears impossible to quantify the economic damage because the entire sector has been tarnished by the scandal from revelations in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the report said.
“These revelations have fundamentally shaken international trust in US tech companies and hurt US business prospects all over the world,” the report said.
Study co-author Daniel Castro said the impact is now open-ended, with the NSA scandal having tarnished a wide range of US tech firms.
Since 2013, he said, “we haven’t turned this around: it’s not just cloud companies. It’s all tech firms implicated by this,” he told AFP.
“It doesn’t show any signs of stopping.”
The report said foreign customers are increasingly shunning US companies, and governments around the world “are using US surveillance as an excuse to enact a new wave of protectionist policies.”
One survey cited by the researchers found 25 percent of businesses in Britain and Canada planned to pull company data out of the United States as a result of the NSA revelations.
Some companies in Europe do not want their data hosted in North America due to these concerns, the researchers said.
Meanwhile foreign companies have used the revelations as a marketing opportunity.
“There is also an increasingly distressing trend of countries, such as Australia, China, Russia, and India, passing laws that prevent their citizens’ personal information from leaving the country’s borders — effectively mandating that cloud computing firms build data centers in those countries or risk losing access to their markets.”
The report said several US tech firms including Apple and Salesforce have already started to build data centers abroad “to appease foreign watchdogs and privacy advocates.”
While this “data nationalism” may create some jobs in the short term, Castro said that countries enacting these policies “are hurting themselves in the long term by cutting themselves off from the best technology.”
– New law insufficient –
Castro said the passage of a reform measure last week called the USA Freedom Act is not sufficient to repair the reputation of US tech firms.
The report recommends further reforms including boosting transparency of surveillance practices, opposing government efforts to weaken encryption and strengthening its mutual legal assistance treaties with other nations.
“Over the last few years, the US government’s failure to meaningfully reform its surveillance practices has taken a serious economic toll on the US tech sector and the total cost continues to grow each day,” Castro said.
Castro said the USA Freedom Act, which curbs bulk data collection among its reforms, is “good legislation and a step in the right direction. We have ignored the economic impact of US surveillance.”
‘There’s an awful lot of really good Republicans out there’: Joe Biden at Cape Cod fundraiser
Former Vice President Joe Biden defended Republican lawmakers in DC as "decent people" during a campaign fundraiser held at Cape Cod.
"There’s an awful lot of really good Republicans out there," Biden argued, according to Washington Post reporter Matt Viser.
"I get in trouble for saying that with Democrats, but...every time we ever got in trouble with our administration, remember who got sent up to Capitol Hill to fix it? Me," he said.
”Because they know I respect the other team. I do. They’re decent people," Biden claimed. "They ran because they care about things, but they’re intimidated right now.”
Neo-Nazi ‘Atomwaffen Division’ holding live-fire militia training exercises at ‘The Base’: report
One sign of the growing white nationalist crisis in America is a new outreach effort for paramilitary training.
"A neo-Nazi group focused on providing paramilitary-style training to far-right extremists has been conducting a massive recruitment drive and claims to have already conducted live-fire training with its members," Vice News reports.
"The Base, which is connected to extreme-right groups the Atomwaffen Division and the Feuerkrieg Division, has been promoting its growth on social media with photos announcing its presence in major cities across North America, including New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, and in Europe, South Africa, and Australia," Vice reported. "The images often include a small contingent (typically one to three) of masked, camo-clad men holding weapons standing in front of The Base's flag, a black flag with three white lines running down the centre."
Oklahoma police searching for man who shot Taco Bell employee in dispute over the drive-thru
Police are searching for a man who allegedly shot a Taco Bell employee early Saturday morning.
"The employee was shot in the leg after asking the customer to pull forward in the drive-thru," KFOR-TV reported Saturday. "The customer argued, but eventually pulled forward, and that’s when he pulled out a gun and shot the employee."