In the months leading up to the 2012 presidential election, Silicon Valley was squarely in President Obama’s corner.
Google’s executive chairman coached Obama’s campaign team; executives from Craigslist, Napster, and Linkedin helped him fundraise; and when the dust settled, Obama had won nine counties in the liberal and tech-heavy Bay Area, scoring 84 percent of the vote in San Francisco. But a little over a year later, following explosive allegations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the government is exploiting tech companies to spy on Americans, some members of Silicon Valley are taking a new perspective: “F— these guys.”
That’s what Brandon Downey, a security engineer with Google, wrote late last month, upon learning that the NSA had broken into Google and Yahoo and was exploiting the data of millions of users, allegedly without the companies’ knowledge. He added, “We suspected this was happening, [but] it still makes me terribly sad. It makes me sad because I believe in America…The U.S. has to be better than this.”