America's self harm problem: How the NSA is killing the US economy

After a year of NSA leaks and revelations, New America's Open Technology Institute has released a report detailing the cost of the NSA's PRISM program on the American economy.

The paper outlined the shift in data storage trends from performance and cost to privacy and security. The paper states "In a survey of 300 British and Canadian businesses... in January 2014, 25 per cent of respondents indicated that they were moving data outside of the US as a result of the NSA revelations" and that "Seventy per cent were even willing to sacrifice performance in order to ensure that their data was protected"

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The change in trends can be seen in non-US hosting providers seeing a huge jump in revenue post-leaks. For example, Swiss hosting provider Artmotion reported in July 2013 a 45 per cent increase in revenue.

The trend has also reached the level of national government, with German authorities changing their IT procurement policies to prevent American companies from gaining federal IT contracts. Angela Merkel's government also recently announced that they would end their current contract with Verizon.

NSA snooping was also cited as the reason that the Brazilian government awarded a £2.7 billion contract to replace the countries fleet of fighter jets to Swedish manufacturer Saab instead of the US based Boeing.

The American domestic economy took a hit with "26 percent indicated that they are now doing less online shopping and banking since learning the extent of government surveillance programs." Similarly US based businesses offering secure email services, such as Lavabit, were forced to close after the NSA demanded the company to release the information relating to Lavabit's encryption keys.

Further hits to the US economy are predicted with the ITIF (Information Technology and Innovation Foundation) predicting the American cloud computing industry could lose between £13 billion to £21 billion over the next three years.

However James Staten, of Forrester Research, suggested that the true figure could be closer to £107 billion due to the ITIF assumption that US companies would continue to use US cloud computing services. Staten writes "You don't have to be a French company, for example, to be worried about the US government snooping in the data about your French clients."

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With the current transition to the cloud occurring across the world's industries, the NSA's impact on the US economy, especially with regards to its tech industry and cloud based companies, cannot be underestimated.