U.S. cloud-computing businesses could lose upwards of $35 billion dollars over the next three years as a result of increased concern over digital spying performed by the NSA.
While cloud technology continues to dominate the IT landscape, one issue remains. How secure is the cloud? For years, companies have been defending privacy protections regarding data stored in their servers or passing over their networks; but recent revelations brought forth by Edward Snowden have made their job increasingly difficult. The United States is the world leader in cloud services, but new evidence about how the NSA obtains information is sending customers abroad. Foreign providers are leveraging this fear and marketing themselves as less vulnerable to data requests and spying (although this isn't necessarily true). The potential loss in market share will be financially devastating to US-based providers which is why they are fighting back in Washington.
To debunk the idea that the NSA had backdoor access into their data centers, companies urged the government to allow them to publish documentation about so-called information requests and show how they were handled.
After reports revealed that the NSA hacked into the data centers of Google and Yahoo, companies often viewed as competitors (Apple, Microsoft and Google) came together to form the Reform Government Surveillance Coalition. Here they developed guidelines to regulate government surveillance and accountability while attempting to restore public trust by increasing their own security measures.
Cloud giants and tech firms throughout Silicon Valley continue to rally against the NSA to ensure that data is protected and that transparency and oversight exist. One sure way to lose the fight however would be to cooperate directly with the government. Once a company is “caught in bed” with the intelligence community stock prices along with its shareholders will plummet.
In short, US cloud providers are out in full force lobbying Washington for reforms on individual surveillance and access to information. Outcomes will likely be devastating if faith in these companies’ ability to protect the privacy of consumers is not restored.
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February 27, 2014
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