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Tech firms squirm over their role in Prism surveillance

Ellen Messmer | July 29, 2013
The disclosures about the NSA's massive global surveillance by former tech worker Edward Snowden is hitting the U.S. tech industry hard as companies continue to try to explain their involvement in the data-collection program.

Hayden acknowledged that one aspect of the fallout from Snowden's leaks is that "the undeniable economic punishment that will be inflicted on American businesses for simply complying with American law."

Hayden's remarks on CNN also seem to sarcastically criticize the Europeans now complaining about the NSA activities and how they may violate European data-privacy laws. "Others, most notably in Europe, will rend their garments in faux shock and outrage that these firms have done this, all the while ignoring that these very same companies, along with their European counterparts, behave the same way when confronted with the lawful demands of the European states."

Hayden continued: "The real purpose of those complaints is competitive economic advantage, putting added burdens on or even disqualifying American firms competing in Europe for the big data and cloud services that are at the cutting edge of the global IT industry."

As if all this weren't enough, former President Jimmy Carter also spoke out yesterday on NSA global surveillance, suggesting the NSA data collection practices were harming democracy. Former president Carter also said Edward Snowden's revelations didn't really harm national security and and was actually "beneficial" because "they inform the public."

 

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