IBM Sued By Shareholders For Cooperating With The NSA... Decimating Sales In China

from the economic-impact-of-nsa-spying dept

Ever since the Snowden leaks began, we've been talking about how the harm for the US economy -- and especially the tech industry -- was going to be massive (much more damaging than anything the NSA might possibly prevent with its spying). We've already seen Cisco attribute poor earnings to the Snowden revelations, and now a large IBM shareholder is suing IBM, claiming that its relationship with the NSA resulted in the company's disappointing third quarter results:
The plaintiff in the complaint, Louisiana Sheriffs' Pension & Relief Fund, said this threatened IBM hardware sales in China, particularly given a program known as Prism that let the NSA spy on that country through technology companies such as IBM.

The Baton Rouge pension fund said the revelation of Prism and related disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden caused Chinese businesses and China's government to abruptly cut ties with the world's largest technology services provider.

It said this led IBM on October 16 to post disappointing third-quarter results, including drops in China of 22 percent in sales and 40 percent in hardware sales.
As for the legal basis for the lawsuit, the pension fund is arguing that IBM should have revealed the potential of this kind of information coming public as a "risk factor." Chances are this lawsuit will go nowhere, but it does highlight, yet again, just how damaging the NSA's activities can be on the US. When compared to how little the NSA has actually accomplished, according to various folks in Congress who have been briefed, it certainly seems like the NSA is doing a lot more harm than good. Hopefully this leads other companies to be much stronger in pushing back on the NSA's demands, knowing that it can significantly harm their business prospects outside of the US.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: china, lawsuits, nsa, shareholders
Companies: ibm

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    quawonk, 17 Dec 2013 @ 4:51am

    Good. I think a couple of these big tech companies should go under as a warning to the others. You cooperate with authoritarian governments to fuck the people, the people will fuck you back! Choose the right side next time.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.