Cost of Snowden’s leaks to US business put at $35bn+ …. so far

Recognition amongst the tech community of the ramifications arising from Edward Snowden’s surveillance leaks in 2013 were voiced at this week’s Techonomy Policy conference in Washington, USA.

The increasing data localisation laws brought in or being planned by international governments was seen as potentially restricting future trade for US and international tech vendors, as they struggle with the issues and complexity of international compliance and the rising demand for data generated in a particular country to be stored within its borders.

Yael Weinman, VP of global privacy policy at the Information Technology Industry Council said:  “We’ve all heard the metaphor—data is the new oil… well barriers to cross-border data-flows make doing business today … much more difficult.”

Russia is due to introduce its data localisation law in September, whilst France and Germany are creating their own dedicated national networks, and other countries, including China, Australia and India, have passed data localization laws.

The cost impact of Snowden’s actions has been measured by tech think tank The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.  Originally having estimated the cost of US surveillance programs to the country’s businesses between US $21.5 billion – $35 billion, they have disclosed in their new report that the true figure is well in excess of the $35 billion mark.

One of the clearest challenges to Government as well as business is the rapidity of change within the technology and data environment.   But Andrea Glorioso, Counselor for the digital economy for the European Union’s delegation to the US stated that the EU was right to seek to protect and defended privacy consumer-protection regulation.  “Some tech companies argue against regulation, saying they want “frictionless innovation. When you’re in a car, friction is a very good thing, because it’s what allows you to brake. A world without friction is a world in which you just go ahead, and you cannot stop, even when you want to.”

The key for Managed Service Providers is to work with partners who can enable the use of global, trusted and recognised brand software platforms while ensuring UK data sovereignty is maintained.

Techonomy

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