A recent New York Times article reporting on two small Internet companies that shut down rather than comply with government requests for user information picks up a theme I wrote about in a recent column, which is that heavily regulated large firms have a hard time resisting government requests for national security cooperation. From the Times:
"Providers are in a bind," observed Orin Kerr, a law professor who specializes in surveillance law at George Washington University. "They need to respect the privacy rights of customers in order to keep customers, but they also have an obligation to comply with the law. A small company can say, 'Rather than comply with the law, we will go under.' But Verizon is not going to do that."
He added: "The government usually has an easier time with large companies because they have more of a long-term need to have good relations with the government."