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PRISM: What It Means For Tech Innovators

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As PRISM and other domestic surveillance programs been the focus of attention this week, there is no question that the online world has been shaken by such broad programs where the US government is gathering not only phone calls, but email, data and even personal information from at least 9 tech giants. While the government claims it cannot intentionally target US citizens, there are two things that they have not denied, and are probably very real. While not intentionally, Americans most certainly find some of their information gathered by the NSA unintentionally. Also, these reassurances do nothing to calm foreigners.


So what does this mean for innovators and people trying to build cool tech companies? There can be several take aways from this week's events. First, it seems likely that if the government has any desire to get some data from your own network, about anyone at all, it's likely you cannot do much to stop them. So as a tech innovator, especially if you run a business that holds data for your users, you need to decide how to react to such a request.


This could also have another effect. There are far more people outside the US than inside, yet the tech community is mostly US centric. This opens the door for foreign companies to build competing technology. Already the EU is very concerned about these spying programs, so it is quite likely that innovators based in Europe and other countries may see business opportunities from this.