Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fears over NSA surveillance revelations endanger US cloud computing industry

Companies say they could lose billions as customers become wary about their data being turned over to US authorities

Source: Guardian

A survey by the US-based Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) found that American companies which offer file storage and computing in cloud systems – so they can be stored and accessed anywhere in the world – are gloomy about the effects of the Guardian's revelations of the extent of US government snooping and data gathering through projects such as Prism and Xkeyscore.

Daniel Castro, author of the ITIF survey, said that it seemed reasonable to suggest that US cloud businesses could lose between 10% and 20% of the overseas market to rivals.

The effect has already been felt, Castro said. The ITIF survey found that of those outside the US, 10% had cancelled a project with a US-based cloud computing provider, and 56% would be "less likely" to use a US-based cloud computing service.

Of those surveyed inside the US, 36% said that the NSA leaks had "made it more difficult" for them to do business outside the US.

Congress Exempt from Obamacare, or Something

Source: New York Magazine

Republican senator Charles Grassley introduced an amendment into the [healthcare reform] debate over the law requiring Congress and its staff to get its own insurance under Obamacare. It was a message amendment — that is, an amendment designed not to actually change the law in a way Grassley wanted but to provide the grist for a talking point for opponents of the law. The talking point would be that those fat cats in Washington are forcing their laws down yer throat but won’t live by the same laws. Democrats surprised Grassley by accepting the amendment. That’s where the trouble began.
The inherent problem is that the entire premise of the amendment is false. The premise was that Obamacare is going to wreck the whole health-care system, forcing decent Americans to lose their hard-earned employer health insurance and be herded on to grim, socialistic health-care exchanges. That is false: The law was designed to leave virtually the entire employer-sponsored health-insurance system alone and create subsidized coverage for the people who don’t get insurance through their job (or through Medicare or some other government plan) already.
... So Grassley’s amendment created a situation for government workers that Republicans claimed, falsely, the law would create for everybody else: forcing them off their employer insurance and on to the exchanges.