MIT Technology Review gets into the increasing concern regarding Internet safety. Do you know about cryptophones like the Blackphone? The MIT Technology Review explores the question, can we trust the internet?
If the Internet and its components cannot be trusted, how will that affect business? Consider the case of Huawei, the Chinese company that last year became the world’s largest seller of telecom equipment. Yet its market share in North America is paltry, because the U.S. government has long claimed that Huawei’s gear is a Trojan horse for China’s intelligence services (see “Before Snowden, There Was Huawei”). Now American firms like Cisco Systems say their Chinese customers are turning away for similar reasons. After all, the Snowden documents suggest how vigorously the NSA worked to insert back doors in gear, software, and undersea cables—in some cases via what the agency called “sensitive, cooperative relationships with specific industry partners” identified by code names.
Mistrust is also creating business opportunities (see “Spinoffs from Spyland”). In this issue we travel to an old bunker in Switzerland that local entrepreneurs have turned into a server farm, hoping to do for data what the Swiss once did for Nazi gold and billionaires’ bank accounts. Thanks to its privacy laws and discreet culture, the country is emerging as a hub for advanced security technology (see “For Swiss Data Industry, NSA Leaks Are Good as Gold”). In Lewis’s view, these sorts of technological initiatives threaten the American lead in Internet services such as remote data storage. “It hasn’t been long enough to know if the economic effects are trivial or serious, but the emergence of foreign competitors is a sign that it’s serious,” he says.
That is how Edward Snowden is affecting business. People are asking questions about technology products, and technology companies, that they never asked before. Is it safe to connect? Are you Russian or American? “This is something that changed since last June, when the leaks started,” says Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of the Finnish security company F-Secure. “Before, the idea was that the Web had no borders, no countries. This was the naïve utopia. Now we have woken up.”