5 Ways the NSA Leaks Have Affected Businesses

National Security Agency
The information leaked by former National Security Agency contractor (and current thorn in the side) Edward Snowden has had a marked effect on the government of the United States. Snowden’s revelations have impacted everything from our country’s relationships with its allies and trading partners to the way our military and intelligence agencies conduct surveillance and security operations. The leaks are also having a profound effect on myriad businesses, influencing both the ways certain corporations conduct themselves to the manner in which they are perceived by the public based on past conduct now revealed.

5 The Guardian Has Named Snowden Person of the Year

Photo Credit: The Guardian

The influential UK media company, The Guardian, has named Edward Snowden its “Person of the Year” for 2013. That means the newspaper and online media giant is recognizing not necessarily anything like greatness or accomplishment by the young man called a whistleblower by some, a traitor by others. Rather it signifies recognition of the immense and undeniable impact his actions have had on so many people, businesses and countries worldwide.

4 Major Communications Companies Were Revealed as Complicit with the NSA

AT&T Logo

One of the most damning revelations to come out of the entire Snowden scandal revealed that myriad multinational communications companies were willing partners of the National Security Agency. Corporations such as AT&T willingly shared (and in most cases continue to share) information about their customers’ activities with the spy agency, including so-called “meta data” (such as records of phone calls including the numbers involved and call duration) and potentially much more specific, invasive information. In the case of AT&T, the company remains obstinate in its refusal to say just how much data they turned over to the government agency.

3 The NSA Infiltrated Video Games

New documents released by Snowden have shown that not even the virtual world was safe from the intrusive creep of the National Security Agency. In particular, the wildly popular online game World of Warcraft, created by Blizzard Entertainment, was infiltrated by agents from American security agencies. These spies (or rather their online avatars) attempted to sniff out potential terrorist activities, tracked the online conduct of persons of interest and sought to establish an intelligence gathering network in the cyber world.

2 Many Companies Were Unwitting “Allies” of the NSA

Slide from the National Security Agency

Much apart from the willing and active participation in data sharing Snowden has revealed took place between multiple corporations and the NSA, many companies were unknowingly infiltrated by the agency. In particular, internet giants Yahoo and Google had their internal servers and data centers hacked into by the NSA. The agency collected millions of bits of data from the companies each and every day, cataloging which emails addresses were communicating and when, intercepting information about text and voice messages, and potentially recording the content of communications as well.

1 Major Tech Companies Have Banded Together in Protest of Government Spying Activities

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For eight of the largest technology firms on earth, enough is enough: Google, Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL have all put their company names on an open letter addressed to none other than the President himself and to members of Congress demanding reform of the methods the government uses to collect and utilize private information. Citing the Constitution, the inherent right to privacy and alluding to the well-meaning but misconstrued overreaches of the intelligence community, the document urges reforms that will help keep Americans safe but without compromising their privacy.

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