The Netherlands are facing a new issue, one that they had not bargained for. It is my personal view that the matter at hand seems to be getting misrepresented, so I need to do something about it.
First let us take a look at the reported facts.
On Saturday 21st September the Dutch NOS reported on TV and on their website on how the Dutch are opening their doors to the NSA (at http://nos.nl/artikel/553680-nederland-opent-deur-voor-nsa.html) The issue is that on business grounds the Amsterdam Internet Exchange is considering opening an office in the US, which would under the FISA all their servers open to investigation by the NSA. In that scenario all of the Dutch internet traffic can at that point be monitored by the NSA.
The first question that comes to mind is what the exact benefit is to open an American office. I wonder why that step is so essential. That reason might be very valid, I just do not know.
The danger is not ‘privacy‘ as such. So many people keep on blabbing on how their privacy is so much in danger. I think that remains to be grossly exaggerated. The additional issue raised by the NOS on their Saturday broadcast (which was not on their website) is a different matter. In there the mention was made by Nico van Eijk from the University of Amsterdam, where British executives from an online gambling site, something that is perfectly legal in England, is not legal in the US and when these executives were in the US on business for other ventures, they got themselves arrested. This info can be found at http://www.cato.org/blog/uk-gambling-ceo-arrested-us-airport. The important quote here is “the U.S. has exploited those treaties to effectively kidnap British citizens who broke no British laws, and extradite them to the U.S. for trial on charges of violating U.S. law“. There is of course another legal side to this. Did David Carruthers actually enable these transgressions of law? Connected to this is the Mark Emery case, which involved a Canadian ‘evangelist’ for medical Marijuana. Did either enable US business?
A quote from the UK’s Daily Mail gave us “Investment bankers Goldman Sachs says that the clampdown by the American authorities could mean ‘that the US could cease to be a viable market for online gaming companies.’ That would be tantamount to destroying the earnings of the main firms since 70% of them originate from the United States.”
The two sides here are that in the first degree these companies do rely on their American market. Knowing that the events were illegal, going to the place looking out for you was not really that bright was it? The second was that the statement came from Goldman Sachs. Bringers of the popular gambling option ‘soon, because of our bad judgement, you no longer own a house‘. Seems a little warped doesn’t it?
We could of course come to the notion that the NSA executive is riddled with spineless paperbacks, not a hardcover amongst them! But the reality is not that clear. In actuality, the game they could end up playing is a lot less appealing for those outside of the US.
For that part we need to take a look at the NSA website (certain parts of it) and to start we need to look at a document that came from the Defense Technical Information Center in Fort Belvoir Virginia. This document called “2009 National Intelligence, A Consumer’s Guide“, where at page 52 it states “The Act specifies that OIA shall be responsible for the receipt, analysis, collation, and dissemination of foreign intelligence and foreign counter-intelligence information related to the operation and responsibilities of the Department of the Treasury.”
Now add the information on the mission statement from the treasury as displayed by the white house. “Support the Department of the Treasury’s mission to promote economic prosperity and the financial security of the United States” this is only part of that mission statement, but by itself it is just as valid. The two now give them additional possibilities through the NSA.
That part is seen on the actual website of the NSA and specifically a department called the ‘Information Assurance Business Affairs Office‘ (at http://www.nsa.gov/ia/business_research/ia_bao/index.shtml), here we see the following parts:
1. The IA Business Affairs Office (BAO) is the focal point for IA partnerships with industry. It also provides guidance to vendors and the NSA workforce in establishing IA business relationships and cultivates partnerships with commercial industry through demonstrations and technical exchanges.
2. The benefits of working with the BAO are (two of them):
- Increased product marketability
- Assistance in the development of next generation solutions
These are only part of the mission. They do a lot more. So in the upcoming age where the world will revolve on big data and parsing information, US businesses might get the option to get access to Exabyte sized data, marketable, distributable and sell-able. The intelligence side of the US was never the problem. The corporate side, for which I have tried on several occasions to warn others about (like ‘the Google’ and ‘the Facebook’) will get access to information and innovation on a global scale.
When we consider the utter inability by the US government to get their own spending under control (not just them mind you). As they are now closer and closer on the edge of bankruptcy (17 trillion in national debt will do that to anyone), their own treasury will only need to receive just one mandate ‘to grow and assure the continuation of the United States and its economy‘, which is already part of the treasuries mission statement. In the age where the current president is so polarised against his opposition, where he is adamant that spending is the only option, he will not hesitate to speak these words (can’t really blame him, can I?). It is decently likely that this would give specifically assigned parts of corporate America the option to market Petabytes of data. Outside of the US, the industrial age would then collapse in a way you cannot even imagine. They could globally sell lists on scales no one can compete with. Consider the future to have one provider in data; the ripple effect in the industry would be devastating. However bad you think you have it is nothing compared to what happens if the thought I am having is a reality. Consider the data files people created. The issue I was confronted with yesterday is that someone saw a nice design on a 3d printer and he wanted to use it, but it was not his design. The help file contained the info I expected it to have. All files from that program were to be considered shareware/freeware and could be used and distributed freely. The software maker had done this to avoid liabilities. It made perfect sense. He made a program he wanted people to use, he did not charge anyone for it and to avoid people coming after him for being nice, he made it all freeware. But whoever designs in that program, those data files are freeware too. So anyone can use it. How many programs do you think are out there built on that principle? Now consider those artistic idea’s, traded freely and there is nothing you can do about it.
That was part of the fear I had and as almost EVERYONE gave away their rights on social media, who profits? It seems to me, not the creator!
But then those in social media opted for that, however those on corporate networks and business internet connections did not opt for such futures. The question is, how protected are they from misuse of their data?
So how long until it is no longer about finding terrorists?