With the recent news on the NSA scandal filling so many media channels, discussing the matter with a political charge can be easy. We're going to ask that, as we post this, so too in reading, you put aside political leanings so that we can look at how, if at all, the information leaked in the news stories about the NSA scandal might affect small business in America.
What is the claim?
Edward Snowden acted as a whistleblower to reveal the nature of data tracked and stored by the intelligence agencies and private firms working for them, and the news has taken over most media channels since Snowden's release of information. He said that the government is tracking data such as calls and emails, and that any analyst with the right technology and skill can obtain these records with relative ease.
What was the response?
Among many responses, President Obama said that the data of American citizens and those living in America is not being tracked and stored, and that the data they are tracking does not include content of phone calls, for example, but instead the parties of a phone call and when it occurred. There is also the question of legality--if the NSA has been monitoring this data, and if it was data belonging to American citizens, for example, is it technically illegal or is it just against policy? (Policy and law not being synonymous.)
Regardless of your opinion of Snowden, or what you believe should or should not happen to him for blowing the whistle, and regardless of whether you think there has been abuse and/or lack of oversight in the past within our government, we are at a fork in the road.
The Question for Small Business in America
If the law is changed to make concession for monitoring the data activity of persons and business in America, what other stipulations and regulations would be required? Would there be a risk to small businesses that any breach in the security of this data might lead to (even accidental) release of proprietary information? You might be thinking that this question is premature. However, if we are at the point of determining once and for all where the law stands regarding the balance between privacy and national security, then now is the time to decide where to draw the line.
We'll be discussing on Twitter (@snowjensenreece) and Facebook. Please join in our discussion with constructive opinions. We're not looking to start political arguments, and remind you that the best way to participate in your government is to contact your state and local representatives. If you're not sure who that is or how to reach them, please follow this link.