By now, we've heard from tech companies such as Facebook, Google and Cisco Systems that the National Security Agency's spying poses a threat to their international business and, in Cisco's case, is already hurting it. So what does that threat look like, exactly, at ground level?
Some companies are apparently so concerned about the NSA snooping on their data that they're requiring - in writing - that their technology suppliers store their data outside the U.S.
In Canada, a pharmaceutical company and government agency have now both added language to that effect to their contracts with suppliers, as did a grocery chain in the U.K., according to J.J. Thompson, chief executive officer of Rook Consulting, an Indianapolis, Indiana-based security-consulting firm. He declined to name the companies, which are using Rook to manage the segmentation and keep the data out of the U.S.
Thompson said the language began appearing in contracts over the past couple weeks, and could be an early indicator of things to come as businesses adapt to a landscape altered by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's leaks. Documents leaked by Snowden indicate that the NSA has tapped fiber-optic cables abroad, circumvented or cracked encryption and is massively collecting telephone records and Internet traffic. Facebook, Google, Apple and Yahoo were among 15 technology companies that asked President Barack Obama Dec. 17 to restrain the spy programs. Cisco said Nov. 13 that NSA spying has caused delays to networking equipment orders.