The Edward Snowden effect: Tech in 2014

Demonstrators hold placards featuring an image of former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden as they take part in a protest against the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) collecting German emails, online chats and phone calls and sharing some of it with the country's intelligence services in Berlin on July 27, 2013.

In 2013, the average U.S. citizen found out that almost everything we do on the web can be monitored by the NSA. 

Consumers responded with a collective shrug, at least in regards to their web browsing and spending habits. In other words, consumers haven't logged off of Google, Facebook, Yahoo or any of the PRISM companies en masse. 

The question for 2014 is how will enterprise -- or business customers -- respond?

"One of the things we do know is that a lot of these companies have come out saying that they're gonna put in extra measures like encrypting their emails as well as trying to figure out a way that the information going from server to server is secure. They're trying to up their game," says Marketplace's Queena Kim. "Of course, it's just a matter of time before the NSA ups their game and it becomes this arms race. Then the question is, 'Who starts paying for all these security measures.'"

Right now, analysts estimate that the NSA revelations could cost U.S. cloud computing providers anywhere from $35 billion to $180 billion in lost business. Analysts believe that foreign companies in Europe and Asia will be more hesitatant to do business with U.S. cloud providers.

Of course the difference betwee $35 billion and $180 billion is huge -- but it serves to highlight the uncertaintly facing those tech companies.  

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

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