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Tech Heads Confront White House 'Data Surveyors'

There has long been unease at how police use data. One of my own early "scoops" as a tech reporter involved Steve Jackson, my first editor at the Rice Thresher in 1973, who later became a big wheel in the games industry, but was nearly driven under over a game that launched his General Universal Role-Playing (GURP) engine, because he was learning, from hackers, how they did what they did.

This abuse of police power over innocent data use stimulated creation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a sort of ACLU for cyberspace, which has been fighting for users against government and corporate power ever since.

The NSA revelations brought the EFF's concerns about government abuse of data to the mass market. The NSA made what the EFF started a global concern, because it turns out that leaders in Brazil and Germany don't like having their private conversations recorded any more than you and I do.

Thus a backlash has begun, one that threatens not only the cloud service providers but all cloud companies, including IBM (IBM) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). Computing is a global market, and if customers in Europe, South America or Asia don't trust American suppliers, because they don't trust the U.S. government, then we all have a problem.

Both parties know they have to be on the same side. They share the same problem. The rest of us don't believe them. The Internet now faces a credibility gap.

At the time of publication the author owned shares of GOOG.  

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