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NSA Is Not Helping U.S. Businesses - Analyst

posted 21 Jan 2014, 09:22 by Mpelembe   [ updated 21 Jan 2014, 09:23 ]


Reuters Market Online - These reforms announced by President Obama are aimed at restoring the public trust in the government, but do they restore any trust in the actual companies, the Googles, the Verizons, the mobile service providers?


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Yeah, I think the President was trying to do two things or hopefully he should have been trying to do two things. On the first front, I think he had a very persuasive speech about restoring- trusting government and privacy and limits on government surveillance and use of data. On the second side, it's really about can customers, especially foreign customers, trust US companies? And what we really want to see coming out of that today was policy recommendations that would say the US government is going to absolutely have a policy of promoting more security online, more security in commercial products rather than less, rather than introducing back doors and vulnerabilities and other types of weaknesses. And the President didn't even address that issue at all today, so I think that was a major gap.


So I'm wondering, the reputation of US companies doing business overseas, damaged by all these NSA stuff, so the reforms announced today, does it do anything to restore that confidence- restoring the confidence?


I don't think it does very much. I mean, the problem is over the past six months or so, we've seen new revelations every few weeks outlining methods that the NSA has taken to access foreign systems or access data of foreign individuals. And a number of these actions involved introducing weaknesses, exploiting what's known as the zero-day attack which is when there's vulnerability out there in a software product or hardware product that the owners of that product don't know about, so only hackers can exploit. And sometimes, the government sat on this information and they use it for their own purposes. And what that means is they're not really acting in the overall public interest. They're not acting in the commercial interest of US companies and US consumers. And so, that means these US companies, when they are trying to go and sell their products abroad, they're having a hard time because foreign competitors are saying, "Hey, if you buy our product, they don't have back doors from our government in them." And that's something that's really making it hard to sell.