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Sen. Wyden: NSA tech spying hurts economy

Sen. Wyden: NSA tech spying hurts economy | Internet Presence | Scoop.it

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and other Silicon Valley executives say controversial government spying programs are undercutting the Internet economy and want Congress to step up stalled reform.

"We're going to end up breaking the Internet," warned Google Inc.'s Schmidt during a public forum Wednesday convened by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who has been an outspoken critic of electronic data-gathering by the National Security Agency. Schmidt and executives from Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp. and other firms say revelations of extensive NSA surveillance are prompting governments in Europe and elsewhere to consider laws requiring that their citizens' online data be stored within their national borders.

Rules like that would drive up costs and create technical obstacles to the way the Internet currently operates, making it "profoundly difficult in terms of our ability to deliver services," said Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch. Brad Smith, general counsel for Microsoft, said some European customers are worried their data will be more vulnerable to U.S. government snooping, although he declined to give specific examples.

"The reality is this is a real problem for American tech companies," said Smith. "If trust falls, then the prospects for business are hurt."

Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and chairman of the Finance Committee, convened the roundtable in the Palo Alto High School gym, where he played basketball as a student in the 1960s. He said he will take the executives' message back to Washington, where bills to curb surveillance have stalled. Prospects for passing a reform bill this fall are shrinking, Wyden told The Associated Press.

"I'm going to my best to use this. What I'm going to do is say there's a clear and present danger to the Internet economy," Wyden said.

Wyden contends that the government's "digital dragnet" of phone calls, emails and online communications doesn't make the country safer, and only hurts the U.S. economy.

"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 U.S. economy," he said in opening remarks.

Microsoft's Smith acknowledged that concerns over recent terrorist incidents in the Middle East may have undercut some public support for surveillance reform. But we "need to resolve that we won't let danger freeze this country in its tracks," he said, adding that "antiquated laws will not keep this country safe. They will undermine fundamental respect for law enforcement."

When former NSA contractor Edward Snowden made details of NSA surveillance tactics public, tech executives and industry experts warned that consumers and business customers would fear that U.S. technology companies can't protect sensitive data from government prying. 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.

Most of the impact has been anecdotal, however. A few companies, including Cisco Systems Inc. and Qualcomm Inc., have said they believe they lost some deals in China and other emerging markets because of concerns about U.S. spying. Germany did cancel a contract with Verizon this summer, citing a fear that it may provide customer phone records to the NSA. Some tech startups and telecommunications companies in France and Switzerland have claimed an increase in sales to customers who are wary of U.S. providers.

It's difficult to quantify the losses because "companies don't always know about the deals that they weren't invited to be a part of," said Daniel Castro, a senior analyst at the nonprofit Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Washington, D.C. Castro estimated last year that losses to U.S. tech companies could amount to $35 billion by 2016. He said this week his estimate is still valid.

Wyden has called for strict controls on the NSA and complains that a pending reform bill, authored by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., doesn't go far enough to restrict so-called "back-door" or warrantless searches of emails and online communications by Americans. The Obama administration has endorsed the Leahy bill, while defending government surveillance programs as narrowly defined and necessary for tracking foreign terrorist suspects. Wyden is backing separate legislation that would increase the authority of the government's new Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

A coalition of leading online companies including Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft continue to urge Congress to pass reform. The companies also have beefed up their own security measures, through encryption and other methods intended to rebuff snooping by individual hackers — or government agencies.

That's put Silicon Valley at odds with federal authorities. Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced last month that he is leaving the Justice Department, has complained that recent encryption moves by Apple Inc. and Google could hinder vital law enforcement investigations.


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Top 5 Fears of Businesses About Digital Marketing | Digitalmoz Internet Marketing Solutions

Top 5 Fears of Businesses About Digital Marketing | Digitalmoz Internet Marketing Solutions | Internet Presence | Scoop.it
There are many businesses that tried digital marketing and made a fortune. The first step is trying. How would you know if you will not try?

Fear is what makes most businesses vulnerable. It makes them stagnant, avoiding growth. It hurts to fail but that’s actually better than doing nothing at all. So what are these fears? Here are some.:

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great pic! Haven't we all struggled with technology at some point, and maybe quite regularly. This article sure makes a point. Find someone who can really help, or figure it out yourself.

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When Startups And Revolutions Collide | TechCrunch

When Startups And Revolutions Collide | TechCrunch | Internet Presence | Scoop.it

In the last two months, tiny Silicon Valley startups have proven their ability to upset the well-laid plans of autocrats half a world away. Just this week, Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, failed spectacularly at banning Twitter, as local citizens found easy workarounds with tech tools, skirting blocks with tens of thousands of tweets mocking the impotent censors.

“I think that startups can perform functions once reserved to government, but they are well-served to be as educated as possible before they wade into foreign affairs,” Secretary Hilary Clinton’s former senior adviser, Alec Ross, writes to me.

The State Department is no longer the only bridge between a pajama-clad hacker and dissidents in the Middle East. Anyone with an Internet connection can wade into the dicey diplomatic waters of revolution, once reserved for governments. This new unregulated power has its promises and perils.

Turkey’s Backfire

In Turkey, anti-censorship tech has thus far provided a safe and almost embarrassingly easy workaround for clumsy government censors. Erdoğan brazenly threatened to “wipe out” Twitter after courts approved a ban on the micro-blogging service for hosting anti-government content.

Almost immediately after the ban was instituted, information for workarounds spread virally.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This issue is very significant. Democracy and communication are very closely linked. Governments used to control the communication channels, but with the rise of the internet that is not the case anymore. Not only startups are making a difference. Big technology companies are gaining tremendous power. And so does every individual.

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The Internet of Things: it's a really big deal

The Internet of Things: it's a really big deal | Internet Presence | Scoop.it
Within a few years, the Internet of Things is going to be worth trillions of dollars, writes John Naughton

Good morning! Or evening, if you happen to be reading this on the other side of the world. Our topic for today is the internet. What? You already know about the internet? No, no, I don't mean that internet, the boring old one you use to access YouTube and send Facebook updates, email and tweets and stuff. That's the internet of people and it's so, well, yesterday. I'm talking about the new internet, which is going to be the latest thing Real Soon Now.

It's called the Internet of Things or IoT and it's got everybody very excited over in Silicon Valley, where they hyperventilate a lot about technology. When you ask them what it is they say things such as "a global, immersive, invisible, ambient networked computin

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Via TechinBiz
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The next big thing: everything connected. More gadgets, more startups, more ideas.

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30 Simple Tools For Data Visualization

30 Simple Tools For Data Visualization | Internet Presence | Scoop.it
Need a simple tool to create a fantastic data visualization? Here are 30.

There have never been more technologies available to collect, examine, and render data. Here are 30 different notable pieces of data visualization software good for any designer's repertoire. They're not just powerful; they're easy to use. In fact, most of these tools feature simple, point-and-click interfaces, and don’t require that you possess any particular coding knowledge or invest in any significant training.

More details at the article.

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Via Lauren Moss
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Love the colors, great tools.

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