International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) claims it has not given customer data to the U.S. government and is going to challenge any requests from the NSA, according to a company blog post. IBM, one of the world’s largest technology service companies, is one out of many tech companies that is protesting U.S. electronic surveillance practices.
“IBM has not provided client data to the NSA or any other government agency under any surveillance program involving the bulk collection of content or metadata,” stated Robert Weber, IBM’s SVP of legal and regulatory affairs, in the blog post. “If the U.S. government were to serve a national security order on IBM to obtain data from an enterprise client and impose a gag order that prohibits IBM from notifying that client, IBM will take appropriate steps to challenge the gag order through judicial action or other means.”
The National Security Agency (NSA) has co-opted more than 140,000 computers since August 2007 to inject spying software into them, according to slides leaked by Edward Snowden. The NSA said that the reports were inaccurate. The NSA said it does not target users of global Internet services without appropriate legal authority. Weber asked for greater transparency and a debate about government surveillance in the blog post.
IBM was hit hard in China due to the government spying scandal. IBM sales in China dropped by 20% in the second half of last year because the Chinese government encouraged state-owned companies to buy China-branded products due to fears of U.S. government spying.
Last week, Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said that he called President Obama to criticize the government over electronic spying. “When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government,” said Zuckerberg in a post.