NSA surveillance scandal holding up international IT development

Data sharing within the international IT community has been significantly inhibited by a number of roadblocks resulting from the Edward Snowden scandal. A fair amount of time has passed since the former employee at the U.S. National Security Agency leaked information regarding the department’s extensive online surveillance. However, government bodies and businesses across the globe are still not willing to move forward, able to neither forgive nor forget the U.S. for its actions.

According to PC World, the European Parliament recently voted to table a serious data sharing deal with the U.S. government. The country was to reach an agreement with European nations, approving the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program. With this arrangement, the U.S. Treasury was supposed to be able to tap into key international bank transfer data kept on the continent by the corporation Swift.

All of those plans have been suspended in light of the fact that more information linked to Snowden is being uncovered. With a vote of 280 to 254, the European Parliament opted not to follow through with the TFTP agreement because lawmakers found out that the NSA may have already been accessing this Swift data illegally.

Allegedly, some of the materials leaked by Snowden revealed that the U.S. agency took it upon itself to monitor these bank transfer files prior to the TFTP agreement, deciding not to go through an appropriate legal protocol. Of the most incriminating claims, the NSA reportedly even featured the methods used to access Swift’s private IT network in the agency’s training manual handed out to new hires.

“NSA interception of Swift data makes a mockery of the E.U.’s agreement with the U.S. What is the purpose of an agreement like this, which was concluded in good faith, if the U.S. authorities are going to circumvent its provisions?” said Jan Philipp Albrecht, lead negotiator for the E.U. Parliament’s data protection reform.

Global mistrust affects foreign IT affairs
Europe is not the only region of the world that continues to be upset by the NSA surveillance controversy. The Guardian reported that Mexican officials have requested that the Obama administration launch a formal investigation to evaluate the extent to which the agency spied on data stored in private and governmental IT networks.

Among the systems that were supposedly hacked by members of NSA is the email account of Mexico’s former president Felipe Calderon, as well as that of current president Enrique Pena Nieto. In the wake of these allegations, the country’s secretary of foreign affairs Jose Antonio Meade stated that Obama has made a promise to Nieto that there would be a follow up investigation to look into these claims.

“He said and he gave his word that there was going to be an investigation around this issue,” Meade said of Obama, according to the news source. “He said that he had not authorized any spying on Mexico.”

American officials are now hoping that the Mexican government will not put an end to its ongoing collaborative efforts. Up until this point, the neighboring countries have worked together to combat terrorism and drug trafficking. U.S. representatives are now nervous that Mexican lawmakers will want to discontinue their assistance because of the NSA scandal.

“We will be awaiting for the response before deciding whether any additional action is warranted,” reported Meade.

Although members of the Mexican government view this possible IT surveillance as a violation of trust, they are willing to wait to hear any findings that Obama’s investigation may reveal. Following these results, they will choose the appropriate course of action.

Time for a truce?
IT professionals and government agencies alike are finding that data sharing practices are greatly impeded due to the persisting Snowden scandal. As a result, some are advocating that governments and corporations begin to make amends and try to move forward.

ComputerWeekly explained that the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance is pushing to have organizations around the world wipe the slate clean. This group wants individuals and institutions to reach an understanding of the reason behind the NSA’s surveillance actions.

“We need to reset the clock, and at least agree we will not spy on our friends in international organizations such as NATO,” said ICSPA chief executive John Lyons, as cited by the news source.

Although it will not be easy to move on knowing that the U.S. agency has hacked into confidential IT networks, it is essential for the international community to progress. American representatives need to acknowledge what they did wrong, and the rest of the globe will have to take a leap of faith in trusting them again.

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