11 August 2013

NSA has negative effect on US and US tech

You have to hand it to the NSA, in spite of its marginal usefulness in "catching terrorists" (e.g., NSA was MIA in detecting or stopping or apprehending the Boston bombers), without doubt, the NSA is having a very negative effect on US tech business, all while violating US laws and the Constitution! OK, so a few tech companies are getting rich off NSA contracts (Booz Allen et al), and of course politicians get plenty of political contributions from those contractors to keep the NSA expanding, but the nation at large, and its tech industry, are being ill-served by this out-of-control, ever-expanding federal spy agency. One is left to wonder--what is the greatest threat to America today--al Qaeda or the NSA? The NSA is certainly doing more damage to the US than al Qaeda is--

NSA Leaks Slam Cloud Computing Industry | Fox Business: "U.S. technology companies warn they could lose between $21.5 billion to $35 billion in global cloud computing contracts over the next three years due to negative fallout from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) spying programs on Internet users, including emails. A new report from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, estimates that U.S. cloud computing companies could lose 10% to 20% of the cloud computing market to European or Asian companies due to U.S. spying. That means major players including Google (GOOG), Amazon (AMZN) and Microsoft (MSFT)  could be hurt."

Thanks to the NSA, the Sky May Be Falling on U.S. Cloud Providers - Businessweek: "The estimate is partly based on market-share projections and a global survey, which found that more than half of respondents, including companies and other industry professionals based outside the U.S., said they would be less likely to use a U.S.-based cloud service in light of Prism. Ten percent said they had already canceled a project with a U.S.-based Internet company as a result, according to the Cloud Security Alliance, the trade group that conducted the survey."

After Lavabit shutdown, another encrypted e-mail service closes | Ars Technica: "Less than 24 hours after Lavabit shuttered its doors, another US firm is shutting down its encrypted e-mail service. Silent Circle, a company that specializes in encrypted communications, said it is preemptively turning off its Silent Mail product. It's doing so despite no urging at all from the government—no subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else, company co-founder Jon Callas wrote in a blog post today. "We see the writing on the wall, and we have decided that it is best for us to shut down Silent Mail now.". . ."

Another e-mail service shuts down over government spying concerns: "A prominent supplier of secure communications services has decided to shutter its e-mail service to avoid having to turn over confidential customer information to the government. The move comes hours after another e-mail service provider called Lavabit made the same decision"

What It Means to Be An NSA "Target": New Information Shows Why We Need Immediate FISA Amendments Act Reform | Electronic Frontier Foundation: " . . . . In plain English: the NSA believes it not only can (1) intercept the communications of the target, but also (2) intercept communications about a target, even if the target isn’t a party to the communication. The most likely way to assess if a communication is “about” a target is to conduct a content analysis of communications, probably based on specific search terms or selectors. And that, folks, is what we call a content dragnet. . . ."

Opinion: NSA secrets kill our trust - CNN.com: "Both government agencies and corporations have cloaked themselves in so much secrecy that it's impossible to verify anything they say; revelation after revelation demonstrates that they've been lying to us regularly and tell the truth only when there's no alternative."

Encrypted E-Mail Company Hushmail Spills to Feds | Threat Level | Wired.com: "A subsequent and refreshingly frank e-mail interview with Hushmail’s CTO seems to indicate that government agencies can also order their way into individual accounts on Hushmail’s ultra-secure web-based e-mail service, which relies on a browser-based Java encryption engine."

Silent Circle sees 'writing on the wall,' shuts down secure email service | The Verge: "When we saw the sad news about Lavabit, we had discussions about what that means for us and anyone else running a secure email system. Ladar Levison is a great guy and his team does fantastic work. Something happened there. We can but guess, but there are a lot of obvious guesses. Our own discussion took on a new urgency. After debate and discussion, we decided that it's best for everyone if we just close it down, delete all the mail, and wipe the disks. It's drastic, but whatever made Lavabit have to close down can't be good for us or our subscribers, whom we have pledged to protect. Of all the choices we had, that seemed the least bad."

Kim Dotcom Will Move Mega Privacy Services to Iceland to Avoid Spying | TorrentFreak: "As the wave of controversy over government spying continues, Kim Dotcom is advising privacy startups to think carefully about where they intend to invest. The Mega entrepreneur is advising companies to stay away from countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, where monitoring is now considered widespread. Dotcom, who has a considerable investment in New Zealand, says his privacy services will move to Iceland if proposed new laws become reality."

Obama Proposes Surveillance-Policy Overhaul - WSJ.com: "In a striking policy shift, President Barack Obama on Friday announced plans to overhaul a secret national security court and pledged to take other measures to disclose more information about secret National Security Agency programs. The new proposals, which Mr. Obama announced at a news conference, will likely ratchet up a national debate over the balance between the controversial spy programs and Americans' privacy. He acknowledged that the documents revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden had initiated debate on surveillance and privacy issues."

Obama, tech executives met to discuss surveillance | Reuters: "U.S. President Barack Obama met with the CEOs of Apple Inc, AT&T Inc as well as other technology and privacy representatives on Thursday to discuss government surveillance in the wake of revelations about the programs, the White House confirmed on Friday."

Apple’s Tim Cook, tech executives meet with Barack Obama to talk surveillance - Tony Romm - POLITICO.com: "President Barack Obama hosted Apple CEO Tim Cook, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, Google computer scientist Vint Cerf and other tech executives and civil liberties leaders on Thursday for a closed-door meeting about government surveillance, sources tell POLITICO."

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