The NSA: Upgrading from Privacy Destruction to Job Destruction

by Matt Powers on October 22, 2013 · 1 comment

in Employment, Nanny State, Personal Liberty, Tech & Telecom, Trade

At a recent Cato Institute event on NSA spying activities, the ACLU’s Chris Soghoian stated that NSA activities were not only a threat to privacy but were also a direct threat to businesses.

On a panel that included Jim Burrows of Silent Circle, Soghoian lamented that NSA data collection amounts to a prohibition of certain business models. Silent Circle is a Web service that provides encryption software text and voice messages — and, until recently, emails. A similar company, Lavabit, is best known as the email provider used by Edward Snowden.

Lavabit was forced to close its services entirely due to NSA requests to build backdoor access to data. Silent Circle chose to discontinue its own email service in response to Lavabit’s closing. Lavabit’s founder explained the situation on their blog post announcing the shutdown:

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit.

The choice was not easy: go against the very principles that are the center of your business model, or close up business for good. Lavabit chose the latter option and shut down its services. Silent Circle did not receive a request from the NSA, but preemptively shutdown its own services as well.

Email services are not the only types of businesses that are being affected by the NSA revelations. Earlier this year, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation released a report concluding that the NSA leaks could cost U.S. cloud providers between $21.5 and $35 billion dollars over the next three years.

With the NSA’s actions not only harming civil liberties but also destroying various businesses, Congress must act immediately to rein in the agency.

Brandt Hardin October 22, 2013 at 3:12 pm

The dystopian fantasies of yesteryear are now a reality. We’ve allowed the coming of an age where the civil liberties our forefathers fought so hard for are being eroded by the day. Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly are mere ghostly images of their original intent. We’ve woken up to an Orwellian Society of Fear where anyone is at the mercy of being labeled a terrorist for standing up for rights we took for granted just over a decade ago. Read about how we’re waging war against ourselves at

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