AT&T Exec Claims EFF's Mocking NSA Logo Creates A 'Chilling Effect'

from the and-if-anyone-knows-about-chilling-effects... dept

For quite some time, the good folks at EFF have offered awesome NSA Spying Hoodies with their brilliantly re-imagined NSA logo:

You might notice the AT&T logo in the middle there. That’s not there just for show. Many years before the world knew of Ed Snowden, an AT&T technician by the name of Mark Klein literally walked in the front door of the EFF’s old offices, and revealed how the NSA was installing hardware directly on AT&T’s premises to tap directly into the internet backbone, in order to collect basically all internet traffic.

This is the same hoodie that Snowden himself used to wear around the NSA office in Hawaii where he worked (his coworkers thought he was being ironic). Either way, the logo is pretty well known by now.

Not surprisingly, last week during the RSA conference, plenty of folks thought it would be an appropriate venue to wear the hoodie (or similar t-shirts). And guess who took offense? According to the NY Times, an anonymous AT&T exec claimed such a logo created a “chilling effect” on discussion:

Around San Francisco this week, some were seen sporting Electronic Frontier Foundation T-shirts featuring a retooled N.S.A. logo with an eagle using its talons to plug into the American telecom network, symbolized by AT&T. Asked about the T-shirts, one AT&T executive, who asked not to be named, said they had a chilling effect.

“There are many of us at AT&T who are disturbed by what we’ve been hearing about the N.S.A.,” this person said. “But when you see that,” he said, pointing to the T-shirts, “a conversation becomes impossible.”

I don’t think that cowardly exec knows what a “chilling effect” really means. I’d argue that secretly giving the NSA full access to the internet backbone, to collect whatever data they want is what creates a real chilling effect. Opening up pretty much just about everyone to intrusive and excessive surveillance by a secretive government agency? That’s a chilling effect. Having someone wearing a t-shirt or hoodie that makes fun of your company for allowing such surveillance? No, that’s not a chilling effect. It’s the opposite. It’s called exercising their right to expression.

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Companies: at&t

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Comments on “AT&T Exec Claims EFF's Mocking NSA Logo Creates A 'Chilling Effect'”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

To be clear I think they are disturbed that citizens are now aware of how complicit in the spying on everyone who touched an ATT network they were.
The conversation isn’t impossible because of a logo, it is impossible because the company refuses to admit for how long, how deep, and how helpful they were to these programs. They didn’t give a damn when they were being paid to assist but suddenly they worry about their image.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Beyond that:

The only reason an AT&T employee or other representative should be uncomfortable at the sight of this logo is if they actually agree with, or otherwise support, the policies, principles, and attitudes which the logo is trying to call out.

If they disagree with those policies, and agree with the ideas behind the logo, then there’s no reason they should feel uncomfortable, and no reason discussion should be in any way inhibited.

If they do agree with those policies, then making them uncomfortable helps put pressure on them to change their minds, and thereby to increase opposition to those policies – which is exactly what the logo is all about.

Anonymous Coward says:

Spoken like a true corporate shill.

If anything, it’s a conversation starter – unless, of course, you happen to be CEO of a multibillion dollar telecommunications giant who is complicit in said spying. The poor, thieving, stinking rich bastard… Break out the violins and let’s hear his sob story about how he and his company are the “real” victims here.

Anonymous Coward says:

?There are many of us at AT&T who are disturbed by what we?ve been hearing about the N.S.A.,? this person said. ?But when you see that,? he said, pointing to the T-shirts, ?a conversation becomes impossible.?

Just another weak-spined millionaire pussy who’s only NOW upset about his compliance with what is now an unpopular program.

The conversation is impossible because of secret courts, writing secret decisions, that must remain secret.

Daemon_ZOGG (profile) says:

"..anonymous AT&T exec claimed such a logo created a "chilling effect""

I find nothing “chilling” about this. I’ve known about this since the 1980s. Only, wasn’t able to prove it back then. Yes. There really are “black boxes” in strategic AT&T locations. Able to monitor phone calls and the backbone of the internet (that means you, me, everybody, and your grandma). Here’s to a brave new world. May the common people of the world prevail.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Great shirt

It’s expensive, yes. But it’s costly because the funds help support the EFF. They’ve done so many great things I scraped together enough to buy more than one. It’s a small price to pay in the long run and I’m sure the money is used much more wisely and for a better purpose than providing excess for government employees.

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