NSA Leaks Continue to Pose Challenges for U.S. Firms
One nation asks for new parts on two satellites for fear of U.S. eavesdropping. Other companies spend money to show that their products do not contain "spycraft."Last year's revelations about the extent to which the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped and collected data on other nations, foreign nationals and American citizens continues to cause problems for U.S. companies. This week, the United Arab Emirates reportedly refused to accept two intelligence satellites from France because they allegedly contained U.S. parts that would allow the NSA to tap into the satellites' encrypted transmissions to ground-based stations. Delivery of the satellites is set for 2018, along with a ground station, but may be delayed as the Middle Eastern nation considers its options. This is not the first time that other nations have worried about U.S. technology in sensitive products following the revelations of the extent of the NSA's spying activities. Cloud providers and other IT companies have particularly felt the brunt of distrust, a trend that will continue, said John Dickson, a principal with the Denim Group, a provider of secure application technology. "If your company handles sensitive information from international clients, you need to be ready to answer questions about your organization's cooperation with U.S. law-enforcement and government organizations and how that may affect their business, especially cloud providers," he wrote in Jan. 6 a blog post. "In fact, I'd suggest that you think through these issues now and reach out to your international clients prior to them asking the question."
In June 2013, Edward Snowden, an NSA contractor, left the country and began leaking documents, leading to a steady flow of classified information on the operations and capabilities of the U.S. intelligence agency. From the NSA's bulk collection of data on U.S. citizens to the tapping of communications with allied heads of state, the document provided an unprecedented look into the capabilities and intent of NSA programs.