Cisco Systems, probably the best-known provider of network and router technology, saw its sales plunge in 2013 in the wake of Edward Snowden's release of documents detailing the National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance techniques, which indicated that our online encryption methods were not secure from the feds. Furthermore, the documents indicated the NSA was physically tampering with computer equipment sent through the mail to install methods of intercepting data.
Glenn Greenwald's new book, No Place to Hide, takes the accusations a step further, including photos from a 2010 NSA document that appears to show the agency resealing an intercepted package that is clearly labeled with Cisco's logo.
Cisco leaders claim they didn't know the NSA was engaging in this behavior and did not cooperate. Now the chief executive officer of Cisco, John Chambers, has sent a letter directly to President Barack Obama, asking for him to get the NSA to knock it off already.
Tech site Re/Code got a copy of the letter and took note:
Addressing the allegations of NSA interference with the delivery of his company's products, Chambers wrote: "We ship our products globally from inside as well as outside the United States, and if these allegations are true, these actions will undermine confidence in our industry and in the ability of technology companies to deliver products globally."
"We simply cannot operate this way; our customers trust us to be able to deliver to their doorsteps products that meet the highest standards of integrity and security," Chambers wrote. "We understand the real and significant threats that exist in this world, but we must also respect the industry's relationship of trust with our customers."
Failure to restore and repair that trust, Chambers said, could threaten the evolution of the Internet itself and lead to its fragmentation.
Something to keep in mind today as the Department of Justice announces it is filing charges against five hackers in the Chinese military for stealing trade secrets from American industries.