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Web Companies Scramble to Rebuild Consumer Trust by Pushing Back on Government Spying

by on09 December 2013 1516 times

Lately the news has had a few articles about how companies like Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo etc. are pushing the government for radical changes to their surveillance policies and demanding better protections for their customers. We have seen new ads focused on explaining how important our data is to them (and in some cases how the other guys are abusing it). The groups lining up and demanding change are many of the same companies that Edward Snowden’s bevy of leaked documents claimed were working hand in hand with the NSA to allow for mass spying on peoples’ data and that in cases where they were not directly cooperating lax security practices allowed for easy retrieval of user information.

 

Although most people knew that companies like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, etc. are more than willing to abuse our data, it was not really understood the levels that this practice was happening. Once that particular cat was out of the bag people were not happy and they showed their displeasure by discontinuing the use of many online services. Microsoft and others are starting to feel the financial impact of this exodus and are scrambling to make it stop.

Over the past few months many large internet companies have begun to make some radical changes to the way they handle customer communication, data and other private information. Both Microsoft and Google have announced the implementation of end to end encryption services for their email clients (with some limitations) and have joined to push back on the government about the widespread surveillance programs.

However, the damage may have already been done and the new efforts appear to be too little too late for many. Many are wondering why encryption was not used before to protect users. Microsoft and Google have always claimed their services were secure, but that illusion was shattered with a few pages of leaked information. The consumer trust has been broken and at a time when cloud services are the gravy train that Microsoft so desperately wants to get on. The second hand attempts to bring consumer back into the fold are very transparent especially coming from Microsoft. Considering their support for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (which would have made what they were caught doing completely legal) we have our doubts about their sincerity about protecting user information from the NSA… or anyone for that matter.

As we have always said; the cloud is about building a revenue stream. Anything that impacts that, including security updates and administration, is secondary to profit considerations. Once the business model is in place and operational fiduciary duty kicks in and many companies’ security decisions are based on maintaining profit margins. If the potential financial loss of a breach is less than the cost of the upgrade… well you simply do not get to pay for the upgrade. We are sure that makes you feel so much better about putting your trust in the cloud.

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Last modified on 09 December 2013
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