If the government is spying on the communications between individuals, companies, and governments to gain informational advantages in trade negotiations, general law enforcement, “homeland security,” and nearly everything else, the chilling effect on the overall economy could be profound.
If companies can’t trust that their data is secure, if people don’t believe they can do business privately, many companies and many individuals will just choose to opt out rather than potentially give an unknown competitor an advantage. This means less business is done. There is less collaboration. There is less innovation. There is less trust, which is the lifeblood of a well functioning economy.
In the government’s effort to know everything about what is going on, it may have killed a good bit of the vitality in our economy. Given that we are on shaky economic ground (at best) already this may not bode well. A few percentage points off of business activity and we are officially back in recession.
I am willing to bet that very few within the intelligence community have considered how such information gathering could cripple the economy. We should make them aware.
The 4th Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. Citizens should be able to feel secure in their papers, including digital papers. If the police feel that there is probable cause to peer into someones information the police are supposed to get a warrant from a judge. And not from a judge who sits on a secret court far from the sunlight of public scrutiny.
If people feel secure they will do business. If people and businesses feel that the government is watching every move they make, indeed that the government may even be working with their competition, they are not going to do business. The economy will go on defense. Even more people will find themselves out of work. Life will be more difficult and the American dream harder to achieve.
All because the government tells us it wants to keep us “safe.”
(From Foreign Policy)
Former intelligence officials and technology industry executives reacted with anger and anxiety over the latest revelations that the National Security Agency is reportedly infiltrating some of the world’s biggest technology companies and making off with the private communications of millions of their customers. And if the reports are accurate, it could be very bad news for U.S. technology companies, who have been complaining for months that their government’s secretive intelligence operations are threatening their business and driving customers towards their foreign competitors.
“I think they’re in an almost impossible situation,” Rep. Adam Schiff, a senior member of the Intelligence Committee, told The Cable. Speaking of Silicon Valley firms who are obligated to cooperate with the NSA, Schiff said recent leak revelations threatened to negatively impact their bottom lines. “It’s definitely going to hurt their business and I think we ought to do everything we can to mitigate that damage. I’m very sympathetic to what they have to confront.”