Google’s Schmidt: Impact Of NSA Surveillance Is ‘Severe And Getting Worse’

Greg Otto | FedScoop | October 8, 2014

Some of Silicon Valley’s top leaders issued a stark warning to the federal government Wednesday: If the National Security Agency continues its surveillance practices to the point where it forces foreign nations to localize data, it will destroy the economic impact the tech sector has on the American economy.  Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said the global impact of the NSA’s programs has been “severe and is getting worse,” and foreign governments’ suggestion to move data within their own borders would essentially amount to a trade barrier.

“What’s going to happen is governments will do bad laws of one kind or another and they are eventually going to say, ‘We want our own Internet in our own country because we want it to work our way,’ and the cost of that is huge in terms of knowledge, discovery, science, growth, jobs, etc.,” Schmidt said, speaking at a roundtable event in Palo Alto, California, organized by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.  Colin Stretch, Facebook’s general counsel, echoed Schmidt’s sentiments about data localization, saying it goes against the foundation the Internet has been built upon.

“The Internet is a medium without borders,” Stretch said. “The notion that you would have to place data centers and data itself that’s used to serve particular communities and counties within a region is fundamentally at odds with the way the Internet is architected.”  Wyden, a long-time critic of the NSA’s programs, has called for an end to the agency’s “digital dragnet” on the grounds that it doesn’t make the country any safer and only serves to harm the U.S. economy...