Bruce Schneier has advice for America's tech companies: when the NSA comes to you and asks you to spy on your users, say NO. They'll promise you that no one will ever find out that you were helping them break the law, but they can't keep that promise. They'll put your company's name in PowerPoint presentations that they show to thousands of employees and contractors and suppliers, and the next whistleblower will out you for your cowardly complicity -- just like Snowden did for Microsoft, Apple, Google, and so many others. If you think not complying with the NSA will cost you the business, recognize that complying with them could also destroy you.
You, an executive in one of those companies, can fight. You'll probably lose, but you need to take the stand. And you might win. It's time we called the government's actions what it really is: commandeering. Commandeering is a practice we're used to in wartime, where commercial ships are taken for military use, or production lines are converted to military production. But now it's happening in peacetime. Vast swaths of the Internet are being commandeered to support this surveillance state.
If this is happening to your company, do what you can to isolate the actions. Do you have employees with security clearances who can't tell you what they're doing? Cut off all automatic lines of communication with them, and make sure that only specific, required, authorized acts are being taken on behalf of government. Only then can you look your customers and the public in the face and say that you don't know what is going on -- that your company has been commandeered.
(Image: ONE Fighting Championship 2013 Singapore 25.IMG_6990, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from superadrianme's photostream)
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.