Our government will end up thwarting tech innovation and balkanizing the web
…Google Glass + NSA PRISM essentially amounts to a vision in which a foreign country is suddenly going to be flooded with American spy cameras. It seems easy to imagine any number of foreign governments having a problem with that idea. More broadly, Google is already facing a variety of anti-trust issues in Europe where basic economic nationalism is mixing with competition policy concerns. Basically various European mapping and comparison and shopping firms don’t want to be crushed by Google, and European officials are naturally sympathetic to the idea of not letting local firms be crushed by California-based ones. Legitimate concern that US tech companies are essentially a giant periscope for American intelligence agencies seem like they’d be a very powerful new weapon in the hands of European companies that want to persuade EU authorities to shackle American firms. Imagine if it had come out in the 1980s that Japanese intelligence agencies were tracking the location of ever Toyota and Honda vehicle, and then the big response from the Japanese government was to reassure people that Japanese citizens weren’t being spied upon this way. There would have been—legitimately—massive political pressure to get Japanese cars out of foreign markets.
The intelligence community obviously views America’s dominance in the high-tech sector as a strategic asset that should be exploited in its own quest for universal knowledge. But American dominance in the high-tech sector is first and foremost a source of national economic advantage, one that could be undone by excessive security involvement.
That is from Matt Yglesias.