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Leaders of the nation’s biggest technology firms warned President Obama during a lengthy meeting at the White House on Tuesday that National Security Agency spying programs are damaging their reputations and could harm the broader economy.
Cisco Systems has said it is seeing customers, especially overseas, back away from American-branded technology after documents revealed that the NSA enlisted tech firms and secretly tapped into their data hubs around the world as the agency pursued terrorism suspects. Companies such as IBM, AT&T and Verizon Communications are facing angry shareholders, some of whom have filed lawsuits demanding that the companies disclose their participation in NSA intelligence programs.
The gathering was scheduled for two hours but went well over the allotted time, with the majority of the discussion focused on the companies’ demands for changes to NSA spying programs, according to tech industry officials...
Their message was to say: “What the hell are you doing? Are you really hacking into the infrastructure of American companies overseas?"...
...The same American companies that cooperate with your lawful orders and spend a lot of money to comply with them to facilitate your intelligence collection?” said one industry official familiar with the companies’ views.
But seriously, will this lead to genuine reform, or just a simulacrum of reform
In the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, residents deprived of easy access to the Internet have strung together cheap, rooftop antennas to create their own DIY network.
The “mesh” first began to take shape in 2011, under the direction of the nonprofit Red Hook Initiative (RHI).
The DIY network is held together by routers placed on rooftops. Costing only $50 to $85, these “backbone nodes” transmit residents' communications across the neighborhood. “The density of housing in Brooklyn and other other New York City boroughs is fantastic, so that's great for building a mesh,” said Clive Thompson, who has reported on similar meshes for Mother Jones. “Many meshes also pool money in neighborhoods to pay for tall, range-extending antennas they put on top of mesh members' buildings.”...
According to documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden earlier this summer, many of these major telecom companies go so far as to provide the agency with direct access to the infrastructure of the Internet.
Meshes can offer an alternative. “The community owns and controls that data, rather than handing it over to a third party service or external organization,” said Bullen.