The National Security Agency surveillance programs aren’t just costing the United States credibility on the world stage — they’re costing domestic tech companies big money.
The recent revelations that the NSA is closely tracking the electronic footprints of foreign citizens could cut as much as $35 billion off the top lines of U.S. cloud computing companies over the next three years. It might also put the nation’s leadership position in the fast growing sector at stake.
That’s according to a new study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, which tried to assess the financial toll of the clandestine PRISM program uncovered by The Guardian and Washington Post in early June.
The ITIF based its conclusions, which it acknowledged were a rough guess, on a recent survey of 500 respondents by the Cloud Security Alliance. The industry group found that “56 percent of non-US residents were less likely to use US-based cloud providers, in light of recent revelations about government access to customer information.”
Moreover, some 36 percent of U.S. residents said that the NSA leaks have made it more difficult for them to “do business outside of the United States,” the ITIF report said.
Based on those figures, it concluded that:
On the low end, U.S. cloud computing providers might lose $21.5 billion over the next three years. This estimate assumes the U.S. eventually loses about 10 percent of foreign market to European or Asian competitors and retains its currently projected market share for the domestic market.
On the high end, U.S. cloud computing providers might lose $35.0 billion by 2016. This assumes the U.S. eventually loses 20 percent of the foreign market to competitors and retains its current domestic market share.