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The NSA says it retrieves only the online data tied to people outside the U.S., a limitation that is of little solace to companies such as Google and Facebook that generate most of their revenue overseas and see the ripest opportunities for growth in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
While industry executives protest government's intrusions on privacy, industry critics point out that technology companies continue to store and analyze troves of personal information in pursuit of more profit.
Google and its rivals "just want to be the exclusive spying source for their customers' data," American Civil Liberties Union senior analyst Christopher Soghoian said in a tweet last week.
Crisis communications expert Gene Grabowski believes the companies regret their initial decision to cooperate with the government. "It appears to more than a few people that they betrayed their customers," said Grabowski, an executive vice president for the public relations firm Levick.
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