Will NSA Revelations Hurt iPhone Sales?

A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 10 2013 2:26 PM

Will NSA Revelations Hurt iPhone Sales?

5S

Many good jokes today on Twitter about the iPhone 5S including biometric security features and the National Security Agency, of which my favorite was the image above from Dylan Tweney. Is there really a secret NSA backdoor built in the phone? Probably not. But how confident am I? Not as confident as I'd like to be.

And this I think continues to be the dog that hasn't yet barked as loud as it will in these stories. Spying on foreigners is at the core of the NSA's mission. With regard to people who aren't Americans, there's nothing illegal or improper about snooping on them without warrants or probably cause or really any kind of procedural checks. And the reason Edward Snowden is in Russia rather than enjoying celebrity status here in the United States, is that the federal government is very seriously committed to the principle that the exact foreign surveillance capabilities of the NSA should be kept secret. This just makes it inherently hard to trust any assurances American companies might try to give foreign customers.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.