CES 2014: Qualcomm CEO on NSA -- "We Can't Comment on That"
January 6, 2014 4:20 PM
comment(s) - last by
As a top U.S. telecommunications and hardware player, Qualcomm's silence is somewhat disturbing
At the close of Qualcomm Inc.'s (
2014 Computer Electronics Show
(CES 2014) keynote I asked Qualcomm's
new CEO Steve Mollenkopf
a question that's of
keen interest to foreign customers
-- how can Qualcomm's technology be trusted in light of recent revelations of
companies appearing to assist
U.S. National Security Agency
(NSA) to spy not only on Americans, but on
business leaders in ally states
such as Brazil, Japan, South Korea, France, and Germany?
The CEO gave me a pretty boilerplate nonanswer. He stated:
I think if you look at Qualcomm's technology you will see that we're among the leaders in the industry in security. But as for what the government is doing we can not comment on that.
A Qualcomm representative took my card and promised to email me a followup comment.
Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf at his company's CES 2014 keynote
I understand the hesitancy of tech leaders to go on the record and comment on NSA spying. While there are some notable exceptions of course, such as Oracle Corp. (
CEO Larry Ellison
happily opines his support for domestic spying
and Google Inc. (
Chairman Eric Schmidt
calls spying "not ok"
, most leaders are likely fearful of reprecussions in terms of
government contracts and taxation
, should they voice negative thoughts on the U.S. government's spy programs.
On the other hand it's too important and financially costly an issue to suffer in silence. The NSA spying is expected to cost the IT space
(according to the
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
(ITIF)) over the next three years, due to damaged trust in the international community.
We've already seen one such high profile loss -- Brazil's national government shot down a bid by The Boeing Comp.'s (
) for a $4.5B USD jet fighter contract. The F/A-18 Super Hornet was formerly the front runner for the contract
. Now the update to Brazil's jet fleet will go to Swedish jetmaker Saab AB (
) who will provide the South American nation 36 new Gripen NG fighters by 2020.
As embarassing leaks continue to accelerate we may be looking at an even more massive loss of business for the U.S. electronics industry than previously expected in terms of foreign sales. The U.S. leads the world in electronics, but there all alternatives. The market will likely choose to take those alternatives -- at least in terms of corporate IT and government contracts -- if U.S. tech is suspected of containing
back doors for NSA malware
As a top provider of processors for mobile devices and basestation technology, Qualcomm needs to clarify its thoughts on NSA spying and how it plans to protect its customers.
For that reason I feel it is a vitally important for any U.S. company involved in telecommunications -- be it on the hardware or software side (both of which Qualcomm is involved in) -- to provide a clear and considered response to such questions. If they do not, any lost business will be on their backs as much as on the policies
Americans and Congress unwittingly allowed to fester and grow
, fertilized by national security fears.
Sometimes it makes sense to have such a response come from a legal team that can offer up a clear statement of the company's perspective on the issue, while avoiding unnecessarily inflammatory language.
In that regard, I hope to hear a more in-depth response from Qualcomm's PR/legal team shortly.
[Qualcomm's keynote was at noon at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.]
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: His hands are kind of tied but I think he gave an answer
1/7/2014 12:35:56 PM
Excellent and totally valid observation.
Any gooberment currently in power will do everything it can get away with to expand its own power and control over its populace.
Any incumbent to that position will do exactly the same thing if they get the chance.
Any alpha dog will do everything it can to consolidate his control over the pack. So give Obama a pat on the head and toss him a milk bone. He is doing exactly what anybody can expect an alpha dog to do.
RE: His hands are kind of tied but I think he gave an answer
1/8/2014 10:58:06 AM
The fact is that there are very different governments that have occurred in various places. They are not all authoritarian police states to the degree the current administration wants.
Technology, though, is making it much easier for governments to dominate people -- must easier to create police states. However, as we saw with the Arab Spring, it can work in the opposite direction with enough pent up anger.
"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
NSA Refuses to Answer to Congress
January 6, 2014, 3:00 AM
Tax and Spy: How the NSA Can Hack Any American, Stores Data 15 Years
December 31, 2013, 12:36 PM
Report: NSA Intercepts PC Deliveries, Pays Cybercriminals to Spy on Americans
December 30, 2013, 3:46 PM
Despite a Rumored Exit to Microsoft, Steve Mollenkopf is Qualcomm's New CEO
December 13, 2013, 1:00 PM
Google Schmidt Predicts China, USA Will Abandon Censorship Within 10 Years
November 22, 2013, 9:05 AM
Retiree Sues Apple For $7,500 for Wiping Honeymoon Photos From His iPhone
November 30, 2015, 10:23 AM
iPhone 7 May Pack 3-4 GB Memory, More Storage; 4-Inch Comeback is Rumored
November 20, 2015, 10:12 PM
OnePlus One, OnePlus 2 Will Receive Android Marshmallow in Q1 2016
November 16, 2015, 9:58 AM
Lenovo Whoa: Motorola Droid MAXX 2 and Turbo 2 Break Cover in Leaks
October 26, 2015, 3:12 PM
Leak: Apple Preps for First Real Android App Foray With New Apple Music App
October 24, 2015, 1:59 PM
Pepsi Smartphone? Empty Calories Coming Soon to the Midrange
October 12, 2015, 11:41 PM
Most Popular Articles
Smart Security Cameras: 5 Good Choices For Any Budget
July 25, 2016, 7:13 PM
2017 Porsche Panamera: I’ll Take Three of These.
July 24, 2016, 6:44 PM
Free Windows 10 offer ends July 29th, 2016: 10 Reasons to Upgrade Immediately
July 22, 2016, 9:19 PM
Top 5 Smart Watches
July 21, 2016, 11:48 PM
5 Excellent Cable Modems: Buy Your Own and Avoid Rental Fees
July 28, 2016, 8:44 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information