July 22, 2011 By

Snowden’s Revelations: U.S. Cloud Providers Face Calls to Wall off Data

1_6In the wake of Snowden’s revelations about the stealing by NSA of the secrets of business houses, the U.S. hosting companies and cloud providers are facing pressure from international customers to keep data away from the U.S. infrastructure. The U.S. firms offering Internet-hosted services for customers in Europe and Asia are also being compelled to stay away from the U.S based service providers.

Snowden’s revelations triggered worldwide debates inviting widespread criticism for the U.S. After the leaks of NSA spying in Germany, including the tapping of the phone lines of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the requests from the German customers have intensified.

David Drummond, Google’s Chief Legal officer said that he was “shocked, surprised and outraged” by Edward Snowden’s revelations that the NSA hacked the company’s data. Speaking exclusively to the BBC, he said “I think that the government certainly needs to reform its practices. We work extraordinarily hard to protect our users and to ensure their trust.”

A survey conducted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, (ITIF) found that the U.S lost about ten percent of foreign business to European or Asian competitors with losses ranging from $21 billion and $35 billion , states Daniel Castro, a senior analyst at ITIF. The Five Eyes allies (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) of the U.S are also facing scrutiny by customers, he said. With the complex cloud deployments and balancing of data flows across global infrastructure, segregating data in the way the customers want is not possible says John Dickson, the chief at The Denim Group.

According to Snowden, NSA collects phone records, email logs (Gmail, Facebook, Hotmail and Yahoo including chat messages) of millions of Americans and tracks locations of mobile phones collecting more than five billion records of phone locations on a daily basis. The leaked documents say that NSA had set up task forces assigned to several smartphone manufacturers and operating systems, including Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iOS operating system, as well as Google’s Android mobile operating system.

In an interview aired on Sunday night on German public television broadcaster ARD, Snowden claimed that the US agency is involved in industrial espionage. He said if German engineering company Siemens had information that would benefit the US, but had nothing to do with national security needs, the National Security Agency would still use it. He said he no longer possessed any NSA documents because he had handed them over to selected journalists. He said that he is facing threats from the U.S representatives refusing to disclose the details any further. He is charged with espionage and theft of government property by the American authorities with many calling for his clemency and several others wanting him imprisoned. He is currently seeking asylum in Russia.

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