NSA Spying Fallout Hits French Satellite Deal

from the guilt-by-association dept

Techdirt has already noted how the NSA's massive spying programs around the world are costing US companies money through lost business -- and are likely to cost them even more in the future. But it seems that the fallout is even wider, as this story from The Voice of Russia makes clear:

The sale of two intelligence satellites by France to the UAE [United Arab Emirates] for nearly $1bln could go bust after the satellites were found to contain US technology designed to intercept data transmitted to the ground station.

A top UAE defence source said that the satellites contain specific US-made components designed to intercept the satellites' communication with their accompanying ground station.
As a result, the UAE might do a deal with the Russians instead:
An unnamed UAE defence source said that it is not clear if the US equipment can be taken off the French satellites, so the incident has resulted in an increase of talks with Moscow, which, along with Beijing, has also been a frequent defence technology supplier to the Emirates.
So it seems likely that not only will US companies find it hard to sell their wares directly to nations that are worried about possible surveillance, but foreign manufacturers will also be reluctant to include certain types of US technology in their own products, since that might cost them contracts. The price being paid by US businesses for the NSA's "collect it all" approach continues to rise.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Just Sayin', Jan 16th, 2014 @ 12:15am

    Voice Of Russia?

    Oh Glyn, come on... do you honestly take the news from Russia at face value? You don't think it's perhaps a way to for the Russians to try to drum up a little more business for their ailing aerospace industry?

    Next you will post stories from the onion.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    The Old man in The Sea, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 12:21am

    When it boils down to it,

    the security agencies don't care. They will just find other means of doing what they want. Collateral damage to USA companies won't affect them at all. They will now have enough to subvert those they need when they need to in any and every country.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 12:44am

    they get their powers from you and me, yet it's us who's worried about them. shouldn't things be the other way around?

     

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  4.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 16th, 2014 @ 1:49am

    As if China and Russia didn't have their own issues. Is there anywhere to run to now?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    frenzic, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 3:07am

    Re:

    Run? How about we kick these people out and take back what's ours.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 3:12am

    Isn't it sad that through our international trade obligations those french satellite makers have more power to stop this than you or I have as Americans? In this case, ISDS may actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise!

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 3:33am

    I remember when Made in the USA used to mean something positive. Then the NSA came along and now everyone knows it's back-doored technology.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 3:52am

    Those Corporate sovereignty clauses in trade agreements have a use after all. The French Satellite makers may have a case against the US government for actions which has destroyed their profit.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    any moose cow word, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 4:21am

    How long before US companies realize that the cost of cooperating with the NSA is too high? Not that it matters, it's too late to make any meaningful change now. The damage is done.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    any moose cow word, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 4:23am

    Re:

    Where's the "irony" button?

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 4:27am

    Good, i hope karma is just getting warmed up, strecthing her muscles, so to speak, to the point were they are given no choice but to make some ACTUAL positive change, and not another game of "Passing the buck"

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 4:27am

    so do you think that this is why the USTR is pushing so hard to include the 'suing governments' option in TPP? like that, from what i understand, any company that feels it is losing money because of something done by a government can then sue that government. would this type of scenario be included in that?
    i would have thought that this sort of one sided, USA advantage clause would be the sure fire way to start a new war, if nothing else did! no country is going to allow itself to be bankrupted by a company, particularly from another country and if it has any sense, wouldn't risk that either if it meant being detrimental to it's citizens!

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    any moose cow word, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 4:43am

    Re:

    The great thing about these trade agreements is that the US government ramrods clauses into them in the belief that none of them could ever be used against itself. Historically, the US has yet to held to a single agreement against it's will, or rather against the will of its corporate allies (aka political "campaign financiers"). The ones that had been "enforced" were in reality placed purposefully by corporate interest to get what they wanted in the first place.

    How long can the US government lean on its global influence to get carte blanche for its misdeeds?

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    any moose cow word, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 4:47am

    Re:

    Taking actions and bribes that were detrimental to citizens has never stopped crony capitalist politicians and bureaucrats before.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 4:47am

    good source?

    Is this a reliable story? Given the topic, "Voice of Russia" doesn't inspire me with confidence. Has this story been confirmed by French media?

    Seriously, does UAE need a billion dollars worth of spy satellites? What the hell for? And is that a good thing?

    Yes, US tech might have NSA backdoors. But someone should check this specific story out -- I suspect Glyn might have got suckered.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 4:53am

    "comment held for moderation"

    fix your fucking filters.

     

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  17.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 16th, 2014 @ 5:24am

    Expect

    I would expect a competant intelligence agency to collect this kind of stuff. I would also expect a competant intelligence agency not to get caught.

    By this measure the NSA is not a competant intelligence agency.

    It has become sloppy because it has got used to using tame judges and politicians to cover up for its mistakes instead of avoiding making them in the first case. It has probably also become sloppy because it has grown to large and acquired too broad a brief.

    This is a disaster because the NSA's incompetence has resulted in it being unable to fulfil its proper role.

     

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  18.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jan 16th, 2014 @ 6:01am

    Re:

    Yes. Imagine if a portion of your local population were well educated and had high tech jobs that could write software and design chips.

    We also now live in a world where designing chips and fabbing chips are two different things. Design your own chips. Outsource fabbing them in a process technology that is not the latest, greatest, smallest feature size imaginable. Use COTS parts, general purpose microprocessors and program them. Use FPGAs. Outsource things where you can verify that the end product is exactly what you expect.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 6:04am

    Re: Expect

    Not to mention the fact that merely pointing out the weaknesses in any of their products can get you thrown in jail. Time for the blowback.

    Pop the corn, people, this is going to be fun!

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 6:07am

    Re:

    I don't know about Russia for sure, but China I'm 99% sure has done that kind of spying to from what I've heard. At the very least, the US government sure assumes any Chinese tech company trying to do business in the US is spying on them. So they must have good reason to suspect it, even though it's totally hypocritical of them.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re:

    Hypocrisy indeed. software implant for selected Huawei routers.. One guess as to which country is doing the spying, and it is not China.

     

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  22.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 16th, 2014 @ 7:46am

    They /should/ care

    the security agencies don't care.

    Yet.

    Most big companies probably didn't, or even still don't, care about the NSA or similar agencies and what they're doing. Sure it might lead to a little more hassle, handing over a bunch of customer data to some agency, but usually they can just get some low-ranking employee to handle that(who also doubles as a nice scape-goat just in case), and often they can use it to bargain a bit, get something out of the deal too.

    However, when those companies suddenly start seeing drastic cuts in profit, when suddenly multi-million, or even billion dollar contracts go to someone else or aren't renewed because of the actions of the security agencies and how those actions affect the companies, suddenly they notice, a lot, and with the money they can throw around, some of these companies have enormous clout and influence, something they can, and likely will, use to 'protect their profits'.

    A few phones calls, a few 'suggestions' into the right ears, and suddenly politicians who were sitting on the fence, or even previously for the activities of the 'security' agencies are talking about how they 'need to be reigned in' and 'need more extensive oversight'.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    register here, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 7:48am

    What else were you expecting? Crooked businesses eat too much NSA carrots, without giving much thought for the future. And the future is now. And it is not nice. Losses will exceed profits.

    Hard lesson in economics.

     

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  24.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Jan 16th, 2014 @ 8:22am

    Hate to say it being an American but I say this is good News.The NSA and our Government sold us out and fucked this World over.Now they can pay for what they have done.
    And what they still do.........................think TPP , etc.

    Time for US Gov to feel some heat.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 8:35am

    Re:

    I remember when people liked the US.
    I watched rammstein's amerika a few days ago on youtube...
    Those comments make it pretty clear what people think of the US now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 8:43am

    Re: They /should/ care

    yes. and the same politicians get another call afterwards with samples of their dirty laundry to convince them otherwise.

    he is right, the agencies don't care, they don't have to. the only way to deal with them is to starve or overload them with information and internationally isolate the country responsible.

    but then we are back to dirty laundry of other countries.

    these agencies need to be shut down in one action, and the people responsible judged for the crimes against humanity that they are, or nothing will change.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re:

    as long as they have a few thousand thermonuclear warheads aimed in every direction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 8:49am

    Re:

    you do know what the USA traditionally do in situations like that? start a war to divert attention.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Jan 16th, 2014 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If others think the US is crazy enough to use them, then there may be a pre-emptive strike.

    The US justified pre-emptive strikes against others.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    vastrightwing, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 12:34pm

    Cyprused!

    You are correct, and in the end, we will all be Cyprused!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 3:19pm

    Doesn't matter the people behind such abuse don't just own the NSA they own pretty much every everything and every government. You'd be a fool to think Russia is any better or this play is even real at all. It's a game to them because it does not matter who makes it and they know that.

    I use to think Alex Jones was a paranoid schizophrenic out of his fucking mind and then Snowden happened. Now I think the jokes on me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2014 @ 6:21pm

    It is a real sad state of affairs when China and Russia are more trusted than the USA.

    How much further can the USA decline into disrepute?

    How far will they drag the rest of society down with them?

    How long before the only thing that the USA can export are movies and songs? I can see this also leading to increased piracy, in that "well the US can just take my personal data without permission or paying for it, so it is only fair when I take data from the US without permission or paying for it."

    How long before the US becomes a 3rd world country left behind by the rest of the world?

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Hide Behind, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 12:04pm

    Back doors and the milkman

    Lets go back to a little war upon Iraq that had invaded Kuwait and the plight of Iraqs Air Force and Army's lack of computers.
    WHEN US invaded Irag the Iraq air force pilots found it had no satellite guidance or computer controlled weaponry or radar and took off flying visual land references towards Iran.
    Seems no matter what nations ; France, Britain, US and Russia fighters and euro built helicopters, all could be satellite disabled tp some extent.
    Only nation without its air force hav ing this hidden backdoor in the on board computer systems was Israel
    Israelis purchased fadvancedvfighters had Israeli designed systems
    The Israelis had to be carefully not to stray towards Iraq border because not even the US could read isreali on board ID.
    Lets not pretend otherwise and wether France or any Euros were privy or not to NSA info does not matter as they are no more than tag a longs for US Empire Building.
    Russia knows all its telecommunicationsbwill be uselessness does China if it ever were to come to US wanting to bloody them.
    It is all high stakes games but the Dealer, US is trying to get a cut out of EVRRY hand.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    M. McNeill, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Voice Of Russia?

    The only difference between "Voice Of Russia" and US-based media outlets is that American trust the latter implicitly. Why? Too much high-fructose corn syrup seems to have created a populace that believes that their country is somehow "better" than others.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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