The First U.S. Company to Lose Business Thanks to the NSA Scandal Might Be … Boeing?

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Dec. 18 2013 4:10 PM

Is Boeing the First American Company to Lose Business Thanks to the NSA Scandal?

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A Boeing F-15SG Eagle fighter jet is displayed at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore on Feb. 14, 2012.

Photo by Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

In the wake of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, it was widely predicted that American tech companies would pay a price for the bad publicity in international markets. According to one industry group’s estimate from August, the U.S. cloud computing industry stands to lose $22 billion to $35 billion over the next three years.

So far, we’ve seen Brazil consider legislation to force Google to locate its data centers within the country and Germany’s interior minister warn his citizens not to use services like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft if they don’t want the U.S. government spying on them.

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But the first company to directly lose out on business in the wake of the NSA revelations may not be an Internet firm at all. The Brazilian government announced today that it was awarding Saab a $4.5 billion contract to develop 36 fighter jets over Boeing. Reuters reports:

Boeing was considered the likely victor until earlier this year when revelations of spying by the U.S. National Security Agency on Brazilian telecommunications data, including the personal telephone calls and emails of Rousseff herself, led Brazil to believe that it could not trust an American company.
"The NSA problem ruined it for the Americans," the Brazilian government source said on condition of anonymity.

If true, this is an indication that the business fallout of the NSA revelations will go beyond the tech industry.

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog.