The Patriot Act is hurting the American internet business:
Engineers who help run the Internet said that it would have been impossible for the United States to maintain its hegemony over the long run because of the very nature of the Internet; it has no central point of control.
And now, the balance of power is shifting. Data is increasingly flowing around the United States, which may have intelligence — and conceivably military — consequences.
Hmm why would the military and intelligence agencies care about internet tubes?
Because yes they really do want to spy on you-- and the world.
Indeed, Internet industry executives and government officials have acknowledged that Internet traffic passing through the switching equipment of companies based in the United States has proved a distinct advantage for American intelligence agencies...
How does this work exactly? Gotta love those telecoms:
In December 2005, The New York Times reported that the National Security Agency had established a program with the cooperation of American telecommunications firms that included the interception of foreign Internet communications.....
"Since passage of the Patriot Act, many companies based outside of the United States have been reluctant to store client information in the U.S.," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. "There is an ongoing concern that U.S. intelligence agencies will gather this information without legal process. There is particular sensitivity about access to financial information as well as communications and Internet traffic that goes through U.S. switches."
Granted, there are other factors involved, like economics, and the dot com bust, but I think this is a clear case of the Patriot Act hurting economic interests, and clear case that our War on Terror is sparking a concrete backlash against us. If other countries don't trust us with this infratructure, they will build it themselves. And they don't trust us.
So when people say let the government spy, what does it matter? Tell them it is hurting us economically, and tell them other countries are treating us like Russia and China.
Thanks to Sharon Jumper for the reminder that I probably should mention that the internet was originally founded by the DOD
The Internet began as a Cold War project to create a communications network that was immune to a nuclear attack. In the 1969, the U.S. government created ARPANET, connecting four western universities and allowing researchers to use the mainframes of any of the networked institutions. New connections were soon added to the network, bringing the number of "nodes" up to 23 in 1971, 111 in 1977, and up to almost 4 million in 1994. As the size of the network grew so did its capabilities: In its first 25 years, the Internet added features such as file transfer, email, Usenet news, and eventually HTML. Now, new developments come to the Net one right after the other. It is this explosive growth in recent years that has captured the imagination of computer users the world over.