Has the NSA poisoned the cloud?


The U.S. technology industry enters 2014 facing a backlash to its perceived role as accomplice to a series of National Security Agency surveillance programs, each making extensive use of data mining to parse billions of consumer telephone, Internet and computer records in what now appears to have been an ineffective effort to track international terrorists.

Recent analysis projects the caution and mistrust engendered by the NSA’s programs could cost U.S. technology industry between $35 billion and $180 billion over the next three years. Widespread NSA spying is unsettling because it hits at the current focal point of communications and computer innovation—cloud computing. Effective protection of privacy and security is best managed by regulating the activities of government, as opposed to the utility of Internet services.