When details of NSA’s PRISM surveillance program were revealed, American technology companies shuttered in fear, not because they were concerned about criminal prosecution – both the Bush administration and the Obama administration had authorized the program – they shuttered in fear because they knew the revelations would negatively impact their business.
In the following interview on Democracy Now!, when Juan Gonzalez asks Alan Rusbridger, the editor of The Guardian, the British newspaper that first reported on the Snowden affair (2), what his thoughts are on the impact of the revelations of the surveillance program on the world stage, Rusbridger replies (segments of interest occur at approximately 38:00 and 47:00 – emphasis added):
ALAN RUSBRIDGER [38:00]: Well, I think, the bit that is sometimes missing from the American debate, the President places great emphasis on the fact that America doesn’t spy on Americans in American territory, as if that was the only thing that mattered. And I thought it was very interesting that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook said, the other day, well that is no use to us if we are trying to build an international business. So, I think Americans haven’t quite understood the anger of other states, of people living in Germany, you say, that Americans feel free to spy on anybody else in the world, and you just have to, sort of, reverse that and think how would Americans feel if Germans were spying on them, or the Chinese.…
JUAN GONZÁLEZ [46:00]: …your sense of how these kinds of revelations are, not only effecting world perceptions of the United States, but as you alluded to earlier, the ability of American companies, internet giants and computer giants to do business overseas – and more and more people are saying, why should I deal with Yahoo or why should I deal with Google if the American government is going to be able to spy on me.
ALAN RUSBRIDGER: …I think it gets to be a big big story for American innovation and business if the rest of the world comes to associate these companies with forms of surveillance, that is going to damage American companies, and I think the Silicon Valley companies know this, and they are worried.
So was the world’s reaction to these revelations surprising? Didn’t the U.S. government and the companies that enabled the spy agency to initiate and optimize this program realize that there would be a backlash?
…continued at chycho