Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner writes: Technology companies revolutionized the global economy by creating an interconnected, high-speed international marketplace.
Internet and telecommunication companies empower businesses to conduct complex transactions and connect with customers, clients and governments across the globe, placing a premium on privacy, accountability and transparency. These principles are the currency of their success, because as private citizens, we entrust these companies with very personal information.
The overreach by the National Security Agency (NSA) does more than infringe on American civil liberties. It poses a serious threat to our economic vitality. Reports from the business community are clear: indiscriminate collection of data by the NSA damages American companies’ growth, credibility, competitive advantage and bottom line.
US companies seeking to expand to lucrative markets in Europe and Asia will find regulatory environments much less receptive to mergers and acquisitions because of NSA programs. German regulatory officials have made it clear, for instance, that AT&T, a massive American telecommunications company that provided customer telephone numbers to the NSA as ordered by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (known as the Fisa court), would undergo intense scrutiny to ensure it complies with German privacy laws before it can acquire a German telecommunications company. This mandate would certainly impede efforts to expand its presence in the region. [Continue reading…]