September 26, 2013
One consequence of the Snowden affair is a renewed interest in encrypting public cloud data. Governments and vendors are in on the act.
It looks as if the NSA has declared open season on overseas traffic and has developed capabilities for capturing huge amounts of data, including almost all intercontinental fiber traffic and mobile communications. Needless to say, the reaction from foreign governments has been less than positive, even though their own intelligence services must have known the extent of the data gathering. We might expect the president to issue guidelines to "clarify" what can or cannot be kept, but the reality is that even he may not know the full extent of NSA's activities. After all, this is the organization that, banned from gathering domestic intelligence, put together a shadow service called "Echelon" with the United Kingdom and others that had no such ban. By law, anything gathered by overseas agencies could be fed back to the U.S., essentially nullifying the ban. The CEOs of the large cloud service providers (CSPs) recently met with President Obama to explore ways to mitigate what they fear will be a $35 billion loss of business due to a reluctance to trust in U.S.-based sites. The CSPs are already in damage control mode. Following Amazon Web Services' lead, they have announced that data stored in their systems will be encrypted, with Google offering to double encrypt, once with its keyset and then with a user-owned key. Read the rest of this article on Enterprise Efficiency.
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