Google: NSA Spying May End Up ‘Breaking the Internet’

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( — October 9, 2014)  — Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are among others technology giants who expressed concern over the possibility that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) practices will not only hurt their businesses, but the internet in general.

On a public forum held by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Wednesday, technology giants were concerned that that move could end up ‘breaking the Internet’, as Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said at the forum, according to the Associated Press.

“Laws that the rest of the world doesn’t respect will ultimately undermine the fundamental ability of our own legal processes, law enforcement agencies and even the intelligence community itself,” Schmidt said.

However, Congress won’t deal with NSA reform until after midterms, until 2015. Surveillance reform advocate Wyden, along with his colleague Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), may even wait until the Patriot Act is up for renewal in June 2015, believing they could use its pending expiration as leverage for more substantial reform.

“I would use these warnings to compel lawmakers to take action.” he said. “What I’m going to do is say there’s a clear and present danger to the Internet economy,” Wyden said to the AP.

“When the actions of a foreign government threaten red-white-and-blue jobs, Washington gets up at arms. But, even today, almost no one in Washington is talking about how overly broad surveillance is hurting the US economy,” he added in his remarks at the forum.

A report by Bloomberg last year, suggested that NSA surveillance could cost the US up to $180 billion in global technology sales by 2016.

However, another report said that US companies could risk $35 billion a year if foreign customers decide to look elsewhere for similar services.

“I suspect many foreign customers are going to be shopping elsewhere for their hardware and software,” said analyst Daniel Castro to the website.

Meanwhile, instead of the NSA, the USA Freedom Act would place metadata records – information such as the time and duration of the call but not the actual content of the call – in the possession of telephone companies.