This is something I never thought of, the stronger hand of our government, at the behest of the Patriot Act, actually hurting us on the tech front. It turns out that is exactly what is happening:
Cloud computing is a gold mine for the U.S. tech industry, but American firms are encountering resistance from an unexpected enemy overseas: the PATRIOT Act.
The Sept. 11-era law was supposed to help the intelligence community gather data on suspected terrorists. But competitors overseas are using it as a way to discourage foreign countries from signing on with U.S. cloud computing providers like Google and Microsoft: Put your data on a U.S.-based cloud, they warn, and you may just put it in the hands of the U.S. government.
Cloud computing is a huge boom right now. Instead of having to buy one big server, you get little slices of servers all over the place and they can work together as one. Think of it as turning a computer into an actual service, where you use what you need and only pay for that.
Need more power? Not a problem as the cloud will instantly grow to what you need.
To the layman this might not seem that important, but it is. Cloud storage is actually becoming common in smart phones. Instead of having to buy larger memory cards, you can store your documents on a cloud drive and access them from anywhere. The technology is still relatively new, so expect it to grow rapidly. as matter of fact, expect it to grow a lot:
In the next year or so there's a good chance cloud computing will be part of your life if you know it or not. There's actually a big chance that it already it.
This service has also been pretty much offered only in the U.S., but other countries are now starting to offer the technology. That means things like this can be a good deterrent to foreign companies from using our service:
The PATRIOT Act, which had key provisions extended by President Barack Obama in May, has become a flash point in sales of cloud computing services to governments in parts of Europe, Asia and elsewhere around the globe because of fears that under the law, providers can be compelled to hand over data to U.S. authorities.
While no foreign governments have moved to block U.S. tech companies, authorities in the Netherlands as recently as September floated the idea of banning U.S.-based cloud firms from competing for government contracts. And Verveer said on a trip to Germany in October that technology firms based in that country were openly using the PATRIOT Act as a “marketing proposition” to raise questions about U.S. cloud firms.
Not only that, but it also means U.S. companies might consider using foreign cloud services to store data in hopes that the U.S. can't easily/legally access their data. Think of it as swiss banks for data.
With the big boom in cloud computing and the stagnant U.S. economy, keeping this product here at home should be a priority. Instead we have washed away freedoms and rights because of that horrible day in 2001. Now our "safety" trumps anything else and that even includes our potential to exceed in a 21st century. Maybe it's time we reverse that thinking and try to make America the envy of the world again?
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