The fallout from the Prism leak continues. As people digest what the leaks mean, ripples are going out into the business community. Firms were moving towards free, American, reliable cloud-based services; now things are screeching to a halt, as they think “do we want the NSA having access to this?”
It’s more than just idle fear. Newspapers using cloud-based email systems have started communicating with confidential sources using other means. Of course, that throws up problems of its own, as the using of email encryption or anonymising software like Tor automatically marks you as higher risk in the NSA’s calculations.
Firms which guarantee client confidentiality – doctors and lawyers, for example – have genuine worries about what could or could not be read. Law firms who regularly end up suing governments are especially worried. New details from the Snowden leaks says that the NSA routinely violates attorney client privilege if “foreign intelligence” is contained within. Even if the NSA doesn’t actually end up reading the text of your emails, if you deal with anyone they are watching, you end up on a watch list – which is a recipe for airport harassment all over the world.