Microsoft and other US businesses suffer thanks to government surveillance

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The aggressive “monitoring” by the US government is unwelcome in other nations. If foreign companies think that doing business with US companies means subjecting their data to the scrutiny of the US government, they’re likely to take their business elsewhere.

I wrote about the effects of the District Court ruling against Microsoft in a recent blog post:

Conducting business on a global scale requires navigating different cultures and customs, plus dealing with different political and legal expectations from one region to the next. It also means that the cultures, customs, politics, and legal expectations of your home nation can impact your ability to do business, which Microsoft and other US companies are beginning to learn firsthand.

It would be nice if business was just business and could be separated from politics and culture, but that is often not the case — especially for companies that deal in technologies that conflict with regional laws or industries with the potential to compromise national security for the customer’s country. Those concerns have led the US government and US businesses to question the motives of Chinese companies, like Huawei and ZTE, and block the acquisition of Sourcefire by Check Point.

Now, the shoe is on the other foot. A federal judge ruled that Microsoft must comply with a US warrant for customer data stored in a company datacenter in Ireland. This ruling has a widespread and negative impact on the US technology industry, particularly for cloud companies.

The European Union has a different perspective on privacy and has been much more aggressive in defending personal liberty rather than caving to paranoia to justify infringing on those liberties. The difference in culture was demonstrated recently when Google and other companies were ordered to comply with the “right to be forgotten.” When US laws and policies conflict with the privacy expectations of other nations, businesses in those countries are reluctant to do business with US companies.

Read the full article at TechRepublic: Ruling against Microsoft has consequences for all US businesses.

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