The Tech Industry Is Making A Big Mistake: It's Time To Suck It Up And Fight Back Hard Over NSA Surveillance
from the stop-dancing-around dept
They're taking a really big risk there, and almost certainly making a huge mistake. Asking for the right to be more transparent is a good start, but it doesn't go nearly far enough. As we noted with President Obama's speech, it's not just more transparency that people want here -- they want less spying. And, as a part of that, they need to know that companies will stand up and fight for their users' rights. And while a few tech companies have shown signs of doing that, it's still be fairly muted.
Bruce Schneier has a great post over at The Atlantic highlighting why many in the tech industry need to be much more proactive in fighting back against government surveillance of their users, showing that they're protecting their users, rather than acquiescing to lots of government requests. The trust being lost in these companies won't come back easily. Schneier's column is targeting the heads of various tech companies directly:
The fallout from not fighting back is going to be extremely costly. I know that many large companies have been trying to play it safe here, but if they're going to regain necessary trust, they need to ramp it up, going beyond just seeking greater transparency to being much more proactive in fighting back and standing up for their users' rights publicly.
The NSA probably told you that your cooperation would forever remain secret, but they're sloppy. They'll put your company name on presentations delivered to thousands of people: government employees, contractors, probably even foreign nationals. If Snowden doesn't have a copy, the next whistleblower will.
This is why you have to fight. When it becomes public that the NSA has been hoovering up all of your users' communications and personal files, what's going to save you in the eyes of those users is whether or not you fought. Fighting will cost you money in the short term, but capitulating will cost you more in the long term.