Thursday, November 21, 2013

Patriot Act Sponsor: NSA Spying Bad for Business

The damage that the rogue government spying programs are doing to American business and by extension what remains of a capitalist system thoroughly polluted by influence peddling cannot be underestimated. Big tech companies are going to soon be placed at a permanent competitive disadvantage to whichever foreign counterparts are able to create the needed infrastructure and implement effective controls though laws to protect customer privacy. The 'next big thing' which was the U.S. cloud computing innovation is now hamstrung by a corrupt government and a cancerous NSA spying colossus of which the revelations of misconduct mount daily. The most recent transgression is the Guardian story of the NSA cutting a secret deal with the Brits to gather and store the communications date of millions of innocent citizens. This is definitely not good for business. The American tech industry transformed the way that we all live and led the cutting edge of innovation in the 1990's during the computer boom back when we actually had an economy that still functioned it was however only a matter of time until the new American capitalist model of cheating, offshoring and rigging the regulations trimphed and we have been reduced to a shadow of our former selves as a result. 

There has been some degree of pushback against the rogue NSA of Barack Obama (formerly ruled by George W. Bush and in a few years Hillary Clinton) but the hydra is reconfiguring and going on the attack to protect itself. The leaks of former government contractor Booz Allen employee Edward Snowden have peeled back the red, white and blue facade of what more resembles a Stasi-Gestapo-NKVD system. There has been some attempt to take down this Goliath, first pushed by Michigan Congressman Justin Amash and most recently by man who introduced the  USA PATRIOT Act only to see it turned into a garrote around the necks of law-abiding Americans by a tyrannical police state. Sensenbrenner just had a column published in which he addresses the negative effect of NSA surveillance on commerce. I excerpt the following:

Technology companies revolutionized the global economy by creating an interconnected, high-speed international marketplace.

Internet and telecommunication companies empower businesses to conduct complex transactions and connect with customers, clients and governments across the globe, placing a premium on privacy, accountability and transparency.  These principles are the currency of their success, because as private citizens, we entrust these companies with very personal information.

The overreach by the National Security Agency (NSA) does more than infringe on American civil liberties. It poses a serious threat to our economic vitality. Reports from the business community are clear: indiscriminate collection of data by the NSA damages American companies' growth, credibility, competitive advantage and bottom line.

US companies seeking to expand to lucrative markets in Europe and Asia will find regulatory environments much less receptive to mergers and acquisitions because of NSA programs. German regulatory officials have made it clear, for instance, that AT&T, a massive American telecommunications company that provided customer telephone numbers to the NSA as ordered by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (known as the Fisa court), would undergo intense scrutiny to ensure it complies with German privacy laws before it can acquire a German telecommunications company. This mandate would certainly impede efforts to expand its presence in the region.
Of course, US tech companies do not exist in a vacuum, free from competition. Companies like Google, which exhibit clear dominance in the United States, compete intensely with foreign competitors around the world. American businesses will lose considerable market share if foreign competitors and regulators paint them as pawns of the US intelligence community. Cisco Systems warned that its revenues could fall by as much as 10% because of the level of uncertainty or concerns engendered by NSA operations. Cisco saw its new orders fall by 12% in the developing world, 25% in Brazil and 30% in Russia. This is in contrast to the 8% growth Cisco saw in the previous quarter.

The cloud computing industry will also suffer. Since many industries rely heavily on this technology, any disruption would ripple across all segments of the national economy. According to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the US cloud computing industry could lose between $22 and $35bn (pdf) over the next three years because of the NSA's overreach. And smaller cloud service providers that partner with U.S. companies have already cancelled contracts.

The true power of this most insipid and corrupt Congress is as usual fighting back against challenges to the dictatorial powers of the NSA surveillance colossus. House efforts are led by Republican Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a preening former FBI agent and one of the biggest fascists in congress is intent at playing J. Edgar Hoover with his beloved spying – one has to wonder whether sexual blackmail operations are another NSA function. A new bill to somewhat curtail the NSA's God mode, while still secret is being ramrodded though absent of any committee review in a move right out of the Tom DeLay era. While the maniacal Rogers works the House the Senate is working concurrently in protecting the American Stasi. California Senator Diane Feinstein aka DiFi, the impenetrable firewall of cellulite blocking any sort of reasonable restraint on NSA spying is front and center with her own bill that would  strengthen the unconstitutional surveillance. The Supreme Court is also joining the contemptible Congress in blocking oversight of oppressive NSA system and continue to use culture war rulings like this week’s Texas abortion decision as a smokescreen.  

Things are looking pretty bleak for privacy rights here in The Homeland and despite all of the lip service that is being paid to business the only businesses that truly matter to the elitist political class are Wall Street casinos subsidized by 85 billion dollars a month from the Federal Reserve, the arms industry that is always in search of new wars and big profits for pigs like Feinstein's husband and the surveillance industrial complex that will keep their critics in check, their history stored in that massive NSA facility in Utah waiting for the day to come when the crackdown begins. But the sheeple just go along about their daily business, Black Friday is coming and there will be a rush to get the Joe Boxer "jingle balls" hot item of the year. And in a textbook move the NSA is putting more lies into Christmas stockings . There is nothing like the holiday season to use in order to trot out more fear-mongering on behalf of the police state, take for example the Portland dupe who was set up by the feds to detonate a fake fertilizer bomb at the 2010 city tree-lighting ceremony. The rubes love the war on Christmas, when it’s not liberals taking the Christ out of Christmas it’s another evil Muslim who hates us for our freedom to buy garish Chinese made junk to honor baby Jesus. 

Is this a great country or what?