Interview: MediaFire on the NSA, the Cloud Industry, and Reset the Net

Brent Bucci, VP, talks about mass surveillance and how the news has impacted the industry

Jun 10, 2014 00:05 GMT  ·  By  · 

The world found out about the NSA’s mass surveillance practices a year ago and more and more information has been revealed ever since, exposing an apparatus that does not care about people’s privacy, whether they live in America or anywhere else in the world.

MediaFire, one of the leading cloud storage companies out there, has been in the front line of attack against the NSA, joining campaigns seeking to urge the US government to limit the intelligence agency’s reach and to put a stop to the bulk data collection, both online and via telephone.

Talking to Softpedia about the NSA, mass surveillance, and the efforts to make a change in the world by protecting people from online spying is Brent Bucci, MediaFire vice president.

Softpedia: It’s been nearly a year since the NSA leaks made it into the media. How has the tech industry changed in the elapsed time due to the revelations regarding the mass surveillance programs created by the NSA?

Brent Bucci: Since the NSA revelations were made public, we have seen a dramatic increase in demand for secure and alternative cloud storage solutions, as well as a major backlash against companies that were complicit in controversial NSA programs. At the end of the day, consumer concerns over data privacy will determine the future policies and direction of the industry at large.

The cloud storage business is now being looked at with doubt by users because of the mass surveillance apparatus. Has MediaFire felt any of this hostility?

While the NSA revelations may have raised concerns for users, the fact is cloud storage and virtualization technologies are here to stay, and are more popular than ever, thanks to the tremendous growth in smartphone adoption worldwide.

At MediaFire we’ve looked to provide leadership to the industry through working with organizations and movements such as “Stop Watching US,” “Reset the Net” as well as other independent lobbying efforts.

I think that as an independent industry leader in the cloud storage business, MediaFire has an important role to play in providing a safe, secure, and affordable alternative to many of the other cloud storage solutions that have been implicated and even complicit in many of the NSA’s controversial programs.

The NSA has denied knowing about OpenSource vulnerability Heartbleed, although the US government then admitted that the agency would keep such bugs a secret under certain circumstances. What’s your take on the story?

The NSA is tasked with providing the US technology industry with the tools and infrastructure needed to secure and protect the data and communications for our allies both at home and abroad. By failing to identify weaknesses such as heartbleed, either by choice or intentionally, the NSA has seriously compromised their position as an industry leader. It will take an organized industry-wide effort to pressure congress to hold the NSA to task.

“Stop Watching Us” was more about asking the government to stop the mass surveillance practices it has been engaging in, but “Reset the Net” is more about pushing Internet users to take things into their own hands; a completely different approach. Which one do you think will pay off more?

Movements such as “Reset the Net” represent the new face of political movements within the US. Through bringing together both industry leaders, and individual internet users, these “viral” movements are helping to push highly technical terms and policies into the mainstream. I personally think that our elected representatives will respond best to this approach. At the end of the day, it will be users, not companies, that will decide the future of the internet.

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