The Global Impact of the USA Freedom Act on Cloud Adoption

The Global Impact of the USA Freedom Act

It’s hard to believe it has been a little over 18 months since Edward Snowden first revealed information about the NSA’s secret surveillance programs to the world. Since that day in June 2013 data privacy and security, specifically in the cloud, have taken on a whole new level of criticality. Organizations all over the world have had to adjust accordingly – creating advanced security features, adhering to more compliance protocols, hiring dedicated security/privacy officers, and even launching PRISM-proof products.

The US government has taken a notable action of putting together a new bill called the USA Freedom Act. Few people realize the act is a backronym, which is a specially constructed acronym created to fit an existing word, that stands for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection and Online Monitoring Act”, was brought into Congress just months after the leak, in October of 2013. Led by Senators Jim Sensenbrenner and Patrick Leahy, the bill was ultimately meant to end mass collection of Americans’ data and create a much higher level of transparency between the Government and the public regarding how data is being collected.

cyber-threats

While many of the major tech companies in the US, such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook were in favor of the bill, their combined market cap of over $1 trillion and overall clout was not enough to get the bill passed by Congress. The bill was halted in the Senate after falling just two votes shy of the required 60. The main opposition to the bill was that it would tie the government’s hands in defending our country against terrorism.

National Security

While national security is a vital and valid concern, it is widely agreed that the current programs in place are overstepping boundaries and are in violation of Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. One step further, I see the violation as the single ‘drop of water’ causing a very negative ripple effect all over the world. Businesses are suffering and so are the cloud providers who are servicing them. If the cloud companies are unable to protect their customers’ data efficiently, they will have a serious churn problem on their hands.

Let’s take a look at some of the effects felt by businesses in the US and overseas as a result of the failed USA Freedom act:

Europe is learning from our mistakes

As far as security, regulation, and compliance goes, Europe was already miles ahead of the United States. As we suffer breaches like Target, or the most recent Sony disaster, the European government is able to see holes in the US system and address them accordingly. While it has been in discussion for some time, the European Commission continues to make progressive adjustments to their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This new set of regulations would protect the privacy of their citizens much more thoroughly than anything we have in place in the US. As a result, American businesses will have to comply to any and all EU regulations before they can even begin to think about doing business overseas.

Businesses are losing money

The fastest way for a business to lose money is to lose customers. If customers cannot trust that their private information will be protected by cloud companies, they tend to stop doing business with them – and possibly in the cloud all together. As a direct result of a lack of trust in American security protocols, the slippery slope looks to be getting worse, putting millions (if not billions) of dollars in jeopardy.

Gary Shapiro, the CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, expressed his concerns for business, both domestically and internationally, in an open letter supporting the USA Freedom Act, saying “Several companies, including members of CEA, have already lost contracts with foreign governments worth millions of dollars.”

Innovation is taking a back seat

By rejecting the USA Freedom Act last month, the Senate created even more FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) between businesses and their customers. Without realizing the ramifications of their actions, the government forced businesses into reacting to the fallout. It has now become the job of US companies to spend valuable resources on gaining trust back from their customers and creating ways to protect them from government spying. Considering a lot of companies are not built or designed for this kind of development, there is a major shift in focus towards “fire-fighting” and unfortunately innovation suffers as a consequence.

As many still consider the US to be in the middle of a “tech bubble 2.0”, the bubble could soon pop if we can’t find a way to address these data privacy issues. If we can’t come to a consensus on a bill like the USA Freedom Act, which was a progressive step forward the US may be facing its toughest global competitor yet: itself.

By Vineet Jain

David Fletcher Blown Image
Holiday Photos.png
Twitbook.png
Answer To Everything.png
Jen Klostermann
The Fintech Landscape The Nitty Gritty Although the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted its existence, most of us have been using fintech in some form or another for quite some time. It’s a big part of ...
Yuliya Melnik
Heroku or AWS Cloud infrastructures are gradually starting to penetrate into an increasing number of areas and various businesses. And this is not surprising because such a ploy allows you to improve internal processes, protect ...
Gary Bernstein
Secure Remote Authentication When employees are working remotely, they need to be able to access company resources and applications just as if they were in the office. This means that remote authentication needs to be ...
Gary Bernstein
Managing Your Internal IT Your company's internal IT team is responsible for keeping things running smoothly, and they deserve all the support you can give them. Here are ten ways to make their lives easier ...
Metasploit-Penetration-Testing-Software-Pen-Testing-Security
Vulnerability Scanners Cyber security vulnerabilities are a constant nuisance and it certainly doesn't help with the world in a current state of disarray and uncertainty. Vulnerabilities leave businesses and individuals subject to a wide range ...
  • Plural Site

    Pluralsite

    Pluralsight provides online courses on popular programming languages and developer tools. Other courses cover fields such as IT security best practices, server infrastructure, and virtualization.

  • Isc2

    ISC2

    (ISC)² provides IT training, certifications, and exams that run online, on your premises, or in classrooms. Self-study resources are available. You can also train groups of 10 or more of your employees. If you want a job in cybersecurity, this is the route to take.

  • App Academy

    App Academy

    Immersive software engineering programs. No experience required. Pay $0 until you're hired. Join an online info session to learn more

  • Cybrary

    Cybrary

    CYBRARY Open source Cyber Security learning. Free for everyone, forever. The world's largest cyber security community. Cybrary provides free IT training and paid IT certificates. Courses for beginners, intermediates, and advanced users are available.