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62% of security experts thought US government was spying before Prism exposé

62 per cent of top IT and security professionals in the US already believed the government was spying on their cloud based data before the Prism scandal hit the news, according to a new survey.

US data security firm Voltage Security carried out the research by asking 300 senior engineers from the financial services, retail, healthcare and insurance industries their thoughts on government surveillance of cloud storage solutions. Over half of the respondents work for large enterprise organisations employing more than 5,000 people.

"The focus on securing sensitive data, while maintaining regulatory compliance, is becoming even stronger as a result of the surveillance activities over the last few weeks," Voltage comments.

"People are growing stronger in their beliefs that security, privacy and compliance are not just a tactical, 'check the box' activity that they have to do, but rather is a strategic process that adds tremendous value in their ability to securely communicate at all levels."

Voltage adds that data security systems such as that provided by the company can protect against snooping, including by the NSA. There has however been no evidence from the NSA slides leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden that Prism secretly collects business' data.

Moreover, an NSA operative needs to be 51 per cent sure a target is not a US citizen or in the country at the time, so it is unlikely that even this wide interpretation of surveillance laws by the secret courts could have been extended to US based businesses, unless to target customer's data held by a company; the NSA tends to order them to hand that over anyway (opens in new tab).

Nothing can be sure though, after all the NSA and UK equivalent GCHQ did spend the last London G20 conference eavesdropping on phone calls and stealing the logins of officials (opens in new tab) from other countries, including Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Meanwhile, the US Senate has narrowly voted to allow the NSA to continue phone surveillance (opens in new tab), whilst more details of the PRISM programme are set to be released following a Yahoo court victory (opens in new tab).

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Tomas is co-founder of Lucky Pilgrim, a team of journalists, photographers and art directors who connect brands to audiences through words, imagery and design. He was formerly editorial director at Chapel and managing editor at Courier magazine, and was a writer for ITProPortal as well as The Independent, EastLondonLines, The Sunday Times Magazine, and Croon.