Nov 25 2013
I’ve been trying to avoid NSA stories since this summer, really I have. I get so worked up when I start reading and writing about these stories and I assume no one wants to read my realistic/paranoid ranting when I get like that. Or at least that’s what my cohosts on the podcast have told me. But one of the things I’ve been pointing out to people since this started is that there were reportedly at least 2000 documents contained in the systems Edward Snowden took to Hong Kong with him. There could easily be many, many more, but the important point is that we’ve only seen stories concerning a very small number of these documents so far.
One of the points I’ve been making to friends and coworkers is that given how many documents we’ve seen release, we have at least a year more of revelations ahead of us, more likely two or more. And apparently people who know agree with me: “Some Obama Administration officials have said privately that Snowden downloaded enought material to fuel two more years of news stories.” This probably isn’t what many businesses in the US who are trying to sell overseas, whether they’re Cloud-based or not.
These revelations have done enormous damage to the reputation of the US and American companies; according to Forrester, the damage could be as much as $35 billion over the next three years in lost revenue. You can blame Mr. Snowden and Mr. Greenwald for releasing the documents, but I prefer to blame our government (not just the current administration) for letting their need to provide safety to the populace no matter what the cost. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on this and don’t care if they do. It was a cost calculation that numerous people in power made, and I think they chose poorly.
Don’t expect this whole issue to blow over any time soon. Greenwald has a cache of data that any reporter would love to make a career out of. He’s doing what reporters are supposed to do and researching each piece of data and then exposing it to the world. Don’t blame him for doing the sort of investigative reporting that he was educated and trained to do. This is part of what makes a great democracy, the ability of reporters (and bloggers) to expose secrets to the world. Democracy thrives on transparency.
As always, these are my opinions and don’t reflect upon my employer. So, if you don’t like them, come to me directly.