The NSA Snafu Could Cost the U.S. Tech Industry Billions
Nobody wants to have to choose between privacy and security, but in the information age, it is difficult for the two to live side by side without conflict. It is a sad and perhaps perpetual truth that the United States has enemies, and that given the opportunity these enemies would use extraordinary measures to cause harm to Americans. It is the onus, then, of those tasked with the defense of the nation to deny enemies of the U.S. any such opportunity. The ongoing challenge is to figure out how.
It has become painfully apparent to both the American people and the world that the U.S. Department of Defense, under whose umbrella the National Security Agency falls, has been engaged in what many consider extreme security measures whose cost (real or perceived) has been privacy. In June, the now infamous Edward Snowden, a former analyst at the NSA, brought to light clandestine mass surveillance programs in the U.S. and United Kingdom.
Among them was a data-mining operation called PRISM, which reportedly obtained direct access to the systems of major Internet and technology companies such as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) through the use of court orders. The documents also revealed that the NSA infiltrated the internal cloud networks at major data companies like Google and Yahoo, siphoning information directly from their private networks.