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What privacy revelations mean to business

02 / 09 / 2013
Privacy concerns are becoming more high profile and while individuals are concerned about how this may affect their civil liberties, businesses should consider what this means to them.

Since Edward Snowden released details of the NSA surveillance program, people have become more cautious about the information they share online and over telecommunications services and what has already been shared. While this may seem a concern to US residents, businesses in Europe could be affected too.

When selecting which internet services to use, companies need to tread carefully as it is possible that they may be at risk of surveillance.

Cloud computing is one area where questions have been raised about how safe European businesses are. Companies often opt to use cloud services from companies such as Amazon, however, the clarity of where data is stored has been cause for concern. If stored by an American company, then under the FISA act it is possible that their data may be accessed by authorities if it is believed it could be a threat. While it is unlikely that this will happen, the threat is still there.

Then there are concerns surrounding the use of other technology services. Google already said, in a filing of court papers, that those using email cannot reasonably expect that information sent will not be intercepted. Although Google did not say that it does this itself, it does use user information to target advertisements. Nevertheless, the chances that email may be intercepted raises questions over how many confidential company documents could be accessed by an unintended audience.

However, the chances of a business actually having their information compromised is slim as it is not in the interests of their provider to share it.

If a business truly wishes to ensure that the information it shares over telecommunications services is only viewed by the intended audience then it should be fully aware of their provider's privacy policies. Should their provider be unable to guarantee privacy, it may be worthwhile looking for services elsewhere.