I first wrote about the negative impact the Snowden NSA revelations would have on the US tech industry last year.
Many people thought (hoped) this issue would have gone away by now.
But it’s not going away. Nor, in my opinion, should it go away.
That’s in part because new revelations keep leaking out.
But it’s also because tech companies based outside of the US have a vested interest in reminding customers that their data may not be as private as they had hoped.
Notes this NYT article:
The United States’ image problem has caused “real, tangible harm” for businesses, said Christian Dawson, the chief operating officer at ServInt, a web hosting company based in Reston, Va. “It’s very easy for providers outside the country to say, ‘Hey, move your business offshore into an area that cares more about your privacy.’ They don’t have better laws necessarily, they have a better marketing department.”
Of course, this is about so much more than branding. And it’s about so much more than the US government.
People are asking questions about their data, who owns it, and who is looking at it. This was a simmering issue before the NSA revelations but now I’d say it’s coming to a boil, and it impacts every company that we trust with our data.
When “private” becomes a product feature, we’ve turned a corner that threatens every business model built on “open” and “transparent” and “sharing.”
And I think we’re getting close.