Home > CRTC, Digital Policy, NSA, Privacy > NSA Spying Has Put The Future of Global Brands At Risk

NSA Spying Has Put The Future of Global Brands At Risk

Companies that are competing globally are now getting very worried about the future post Snowden. In an article on Quartz.com

Mastercard CEO Ajaypal Singh Banga described the NSA’s surveillance as a “much deeper discussion, way beyond just us” but acknowledged the issue was beginning to be talked about by overseas customers. “I think the longer, bigger term issue for a lot of global companies is that if the fears about privacy go to a point where people would attempt to find ways to have more localization.” In other words, merchants might want their transactions processed through servers on home soil, rather than through the credit card giant’s facility in St Louis. “That certainly impacts the way that you construct your business model over time,” he said, according to a transcript of the company’s October 31 earnings call. He said the company was already processing 80% of overseas transactions in the countries where they take place.

Combine that with a quote from the same article from the NSA’s lead contractor:

Technology solutions provider Man Tech International group, whose biggest customer is the NSA, is keeping an eye on things, but for different reasons. It noted on October 30 that it’s expecting the debate about the agency’s ability to collect information on US citizens to continue to rage on in Congress. ”We will continue to monitor these activities, but I expect that the cyber and intelligence markets will continue to be strong and that ManTech will be a leader in these markets,” president and COO L William Varner said.

The biggest mistake the US government made was hire in a huge number of private contractors.  I think companies like Man Tech are very well positioned in future markets.  As global business finds ways to ensure the NSA isn’t spying in, what better way than to hire a technology solutions provider with the NSA’s blueprints.  I’m pretty sure those developing tech for the NSA, will be jumping ship in the near future.  Companies like Man Tech are winners on either side of the argument here.

I don’t think localization will have a significant impact globally.  I think the US along with those listed in the five eyes surveillance alliance like Canada will feel the brunt of a tech sector that will be looking offshore for opportunities.  I think that will be temporary, but will include some big names. Eventually the politicians will start to catch on and a much wider global agreement on privacy will drafted.  Too much money, and too many economies depend on the web to see it segregated. Global brands are very much integrated with digital communications to let localization happen on a full term basis. But a message will have to be sent economically to US law makers who are still very reluctant to give up this mass collection of data.

The Snowden leaks are also going to put a huge dent into the online ad market, as people start to tighten up their security.  This is going to put pressure (already has) on the telecom markets namely the ISPs to help compensate.  As a result of private industry trying to NSA proof its doors, the easiest  way to get at consumers information in the short term will be at the gatekeeper, or ISP level. Consumers need to be very aware to what’s at stake in the ISP battles ahead on the issue of privacy and collection of their information online, and how it’s used.

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