We’re Not Breaking Up Anything

A leading Senate critic of online surveillance wants the government to stop widespread spying on phone calls, texts and emails, saying the “digital dragnet” doesn’t make the country safer, and only hurts the U.S. economy.

What data is there to support such notions? That jobs have been lost in any significant numbers? That revenues for any of the associated enterprises are down dramatically based solely on recent revelations? Are there any metrics behind such claims besides the volume and length of press releases from privacy organizations/activists and NSA-haters?

I’m guessing the answer is “no.”

Tech executives and industry experts warned those revelations would hurt Silicon Valley companies by making consumers and business customers fearful that U.S. companies can’t protect sensitive data from government prying.

As executives from TJMaxx, Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan, Heartland Payment Systems, etc., etc. will testify, U.S. companies can’t protect sensitive data from anyone. I smell herring.

Some analysts estimated last year that U.S. tech companies could lose tens of billions of dollars in sales, particularly after European firms began marketing themselves as being more secure than U.S. competitors – or less vulnerable to legal demands from the U.S. government.

So “estimations” …from last year… not actual data…from today.

What’s the backup plan?

“The simplest outcome is that we’re going to end up breaking the Internet,” Schmidt said. “Because 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 country because we want it to work our way, right? And we don’t want these NSA and other people in it.'”

The first rule of SIGINT Club is: going overseas is a help, not a hindrance, to collection.

The second rule of SIGINT Club is: if one man can build it, another man can break it.

Years ago, when asked by think tanks and futurists how I thought things were going to play out I thought Balkanization was the future too. But once I realized that people really didn’t care about security or privacy, I jumped from anger straight to acceptance. We’re not re-engineering the Internet to make it more secure or private. We’re not splitting it up. Ever heard of the steam roller called Internet of Things? Something you should all be aware of: it’s riding on the Internet. No one is disrupting this gravy train for the sake of security. I’m a security guy. Saying this is upsetting to me, but there is no meaningful indication that we’ve learned anything or are prepared to do anything different.