Since the Middle Ages, Swiss Banks have had a reputation for keeping your most valuable assets safe. The country also has a ton of secrecy laws enshrined into its national identity. Cue the 21st Century. KitGuru gets Bourne again.
The Cypriot government decided to snatch money directly from bank customer's accounts. In doing so, they pretty much guaranteed a terrible reputation in the future and drastically reduced opportunities to attract foreign investment.
If you want to have a traditional security sector where the banks hold money, then the Swiss seem to have made a lot of good decisions over the years.
Will their decision making be as good when the product changes format – from gold to bits?
Yesterday afternoon [Yep, hardcore KitGuru news gathering, even on a Sunday – Ed] we got into discussion with an expert on data centres who has a stake in a specialist Swiss operation.
He told us that his organization has been “banging its proverbial head against the data center doors of American corporates for ages with no luck at all. It has been trying to sell services into these companies, but the American sense of ‘Do what is right and buy from local firms' has made penetration difficult”.
Suddenly, in the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations about the US government's preparation for ‘Turnkey Tyranny', he has been inundated by requests from US companies, keen to move their most sensitive data outside the reach of the CIA (and a heap of less reputable organisations).
This kind of security comes at a price. A hefty price. And the American's dodgy data dealings mean that US companies will lose out in this new and rapidly expanding market – to the tune of millions in lost data storage revenues.
Enron destroyed faith in American corporates.
The collapse of banking sector removed significant confidence in the financial sector.
Now it seems that corporates are looking for other places to stash their data.
Combine these incidents with the US leading the charts in terms of the world's biggest prison population (almost 50% more criminals than Russia) and you start to realise that the prism et al scandals are less of a surprise and more like ‘business as usual'.
If Gekko was right in Wall Street and there is no more valuable commodity than information, then the United States' Big Brother approach could well backfire and drive further investment ‘East'.
KitGuru says: It's quite ironic that in the land of the free and home of the brave, that someone courageous enough to risk life imprisonment by exposing the biggest illicit bugging operation of all time would be so vilified. As we all know, despots care little about how they are perceived – but a lot about how much money they have. Maybe Snowden's revelations will drive enough data storage revenue overseas that the US reacts in the way it did to Enron – by implementing intelligent checks and balances (Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002) that re-establish a framework within people can feel safe. Maybe.
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