Snowden leaks prompt firms to move data: 'Cloud' storage abandoned amid surveillance fears Survey reveals rerouting of traffic away from US
(Guardian (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The vast scale of online surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden is changing how businesses store commercially sensitive data, with potentially dramatic consequences for the future of the internet, according to a new study.
A survey of 1,000 business leaders from around the world has found that many are questioning their reliance on "cloud computing" in favour of more secure forms of data storage as the whistleblower's revelations continue to reverberate.
The moves by businesses mirror efforts by individual countries, such as Brazil and Germany, which are encouraging regional online traffic to be routed locally rather than through the US, in a move that could have a big impact on US technology companies such as Facebook and Google.
Daniel Castro, a senior analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, said the study confirmed "anecdotal evidence that suggests US tech firms are going to be hit hard in the coming years by a global backlash against technology 'made in America'".
"The Snowden revelations have led to a paradigm shift in how IT decision-makers buy technology," he said. "Now companies are not just competing on price and quality, they are also competing on geography. This might be the final nail in the coffin for the vision of a global, borderless internet."
Ian Brown, from the Oxford Internet Institute, said the survey revealed a significant level of concern among business leaders: "We'll have to see over the next year how much impact this type of reaction has on the bottom line of US tech companies."
The survey of 1,000 information and communications technology decision-makers from France, Germany, Hong Kong, the UK and the US was carried out by NTT Communications. It found that, following the Snowden revelations, almost 90% had changed the way they use the cloud - a storage service that allows data to be accessed from anywhere in the world but which is more susceptible to online surveillance.
The study also found that almost a third of those questioned were moving their company's data to locations where they "know it will be safe", and 16% said they had delayed or cancelled their contracts with cloud service providers.
Len Padilla, from NTT Communications in Europe, said: "Our findings show that the NSA allegations have hardened ICT decision-makers' attitudes towards cloud computing, whether it is modifying procurement policies, scrutinising potential suppliers or taking a heightened interest in where their data is stored."
The Guardian, and some of the world's other major media organisations, began disclosing details of the extent and reach of mass surveillance programmes run by Britain's eavesdropping centre, GCHQ, and its US equivalent, the National Security Agency, last year.
US technology firms have repeatedly raised concerns about the impact of the NSA revelations on their ability to operate around the world, and earlier this month Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, met President Barack Obama to voice their concerns about the commercial impact of government surveillance programmes.
(c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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