Journal of Information & Privacy Law

NSA laws causing far reaching global problems

By Michael Greene, Solicitation Editor on Monday, November 3rd, 2014
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Since the revelations of the vast NSA surveillance programs, following the information leaks by Edward Snowden in 2013, foreign nations have been focusing on efforts to limit the access that these surveillance programs have in their lands. Brazil is one of these nations that have taken drastic measures to insulate themselves, and their communications from U.S. involvement. Following the release of information, showing that their nation was targeted by the NSA surveillance, Brazil vowed to disconnect entirely from the U.S. by rerouting all of their internet and communication streams away from any interactions from any U.S. controlled internet or communication hubs. At first blush, this seemed like a bold and unattainable goal, more so to save face than to actually effect any global political change. However, this past week Brazil announced new internet infrastructure projects, which for the first time will use no U.S. vendors to do it.

Although this is not as significant of a change for U.S. interest, there is currently a transatlantic project which has recently begun construction which will connect South America with Europe and circumvent the current U.S. communication routes. The fact that Brazil is distancing itself from the U.S. due to the NSA surveillance programs is alarming because of the economic implications that will accompany the loss of the largest South American economy. Brazil is the seventh largest economy in the world and future growth models estimate that it will continue to stretch its lead on the rest of the continent. The loss of any communication contracts between the U.S. and Brazil will drastically limit the trade and economic stability of the region. Further, the economic loss of just the communication contracts between the United States and Brazil is estimated at roughly $35 billion[i]

The fact that foreign nations are considering crippling communications on a short term loss to ensure that they avoid intrusive NSA surveillance programs is indicative of how poisonous the current surveillance programs are. To what good do these programs provide, if the viability of a connected world is hampered by nations too fearful to have direct communications? I am sure that as more nations take these drastic steps, a more focused and concerned talk about reforming NSA surveillance programs will begin.


[i] http://oti.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/Surveilance_Costs_Final.pdf

 

 

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