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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Filed Under: chilling effect, eff, nsa, parody
Companies: at&t

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  1. icon
    Designerfx (profile), 3 Mar 2014 @ 8:56am

    Ah, I know what this is

    This isn't chilling effects. It's this, turned from religion to corporations.

    The "help help we're being oppressed" with AT&T attempting to be portrayed as the victim.

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