The massive surveillance efforts being conducted by agencies like the NSA are not just illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional; they could be seriously damaging our economy.
A report issued by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation stated that U.S.-based cloud computing computers could lose between $21 and $35 billion because of the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program.
That’s how much U.S. companies could lose if foreign customers stop using U.S. cloud computing services because they don’t want to be subject to federal eavesdropping. The report found that U.S. companies could lose 10% of the global market to European or Asian competitors over the next three years. That would be worth $21.5 billion. The losses could be higher; as much as $35 billion.
American Businesses Will Lose Customers, Americans Will Lose Jobs
Naturally, the loss of revenue will lead to the loss of jobs by average Americans. Some U.S. citizens will not be able to feed their families or pay their mortgages because of their government’s misguided drive for security.
The Foundation’s report noted that 10% of foreign customers admitted that they had decided not to use a U.S. cloud computing company because of the NSA surveillance. It also found that 56% of non-Americans were less likely to use a U.S.-based service because of revelations about PRISM.
Artmotion, a hosting company based in Switzerland, reported that its business has increased by 45% since Edward Snowden exposed PRISM. Switzerland has a long history of keeping financial information and other data secret from foreign governments.
The Elite Won’t Be Affected
In other words, the rich will be able to purchase online privacy the same way they get freedom from income taxes: by simply doing business in countries like Switzerland. The rest of us will have to submit to federal surveillance if we want to use the Internet.
Worse, thousands of Americans could be out of work because of programs like PRISM. Every time a cloud computing company lays off a programmer or an engineer, that person has less income to pay for things like restaurant meals, cars, car repairs, houses, etc. In other words, large numbers of working people will lose their jobs or see less income.
Surveillance Is a Threat to Free Enterprise
Surveillance is not only a violation of our basic rights; it is very bad economic policy that will cost Americans a lot of jobs. Worse, it’ll raise our taxes because those laid off will end up using government services like food stamps and employment insurance because they won’t have jobs.
If we want America to continue to be the center of innovation and the world’s richest nation, we need to make free enterprise free again. Programs like PRISM are an assault upon the free enterprise system as well as individual privacy.