Cisco chief executive John Chambers has written to US President Barack Obama, warning him the National Security Agency's (NSA) ongoing mass surveillance activities will have a dire effect on the global economy.
In the letter, Chambers highlights how the NSA is allegedly installing backdoors on US-made hardware, including Cisco equipment. "If these allegations are true, these actions will undermine confidence in our industry and the ability of technology companies to deliver products globally," he writes.
"Confidence in the open, global internet has brought enormous economic benefits to the United States and to billions of people around the world. This confidence is being eroded by revelations of governments' surveillance."
News of the NSA's surveillance activities first broke in 2013, when ex-CIA analyst and NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents to the press proving the intelligence agency was siphoning vast amounts of data from numerous technology companies.
The full extent and damage caused by the NSA's surveillance operations remains unknown, though European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes warned PRISM would have "multi-billion euro consequences" in July 2013.
Chambers called for Obama to work with industry to help create a new set of standards of conduct between industry and the intelligence community to help mitigate and repair the damage done by PRISM.
"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. That is why we need new standards of conduct, or a new set of ‘rules of the road', to ensure that appropriate safeguards and limits exist that serve national security objectives, while at the same time meet the needs of global commerce," reads the letter.
"We are asking your administration to take more steps and a leadership role to ensure that guidelines and reforms are put in place."
At the time of publishing, the White House had not responded to V3's request for comment on Chambers' letter.
Chambers is one of many technology leaders to criticise the US government and NSA about PRISM. Facebook founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg argued the NSA's PRISM operations have radically damaged end users' trust in US technology services providers during a keynote speech at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona in February.
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