This from a law professor.
You can consider the National Security Agency’s data-gathering programs a grim necessity to protect the nation or an outrageous violation of privacy. What is unquestionable is that they are reshaping the tech marketplace.
Yet it should have been obvious that so extensive a system of surveillance, no matter how benignly intended, would have unintended consequences. Some of the ill consequences are even predictable.
Consider cloud computing. Worldwide spending on the cloud is expected to double over the next three years to more than $200 billion. U.S. firms have been leaders in developing the technology. According to a new report from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, however, global worries about NSA surveillance are likely to reduce U.S. market share.
The report’s admittedly loose estimate is that U.S. cloud-computing firms will lose $21 billion to $35 billion in revenue between now and 2016. According to the report, some 10 percent of non-U.S. members of the Cloud Security Alliance said they’ve canceled a project with a U.S. company since the disclosure of the NSA’s surveillance. In addition, 56 percent indicated “that they would be less likely to use a U.S.-based cloud computing service.”
These are scary numbers for one of the few true growth areas in the tech sector. But they are precisely what should have been expected in the wake of the disclosures. “If I were an American cloud provider, I would be quite frustrated with my government right now,” Neelie Kroes, the European Union’s commissioner for digital affairs, said in the ITIF report.