Air Bud’s stance on cybersecurity policy is golden

We had no idea that the dog best known for his basketball skills was also a tech-policy aficionado.


William Turton

Internet Culture

Published Jan 12, 2016   Updated May 27, 2021, 9:15 am CDT

Air Bud, known to his friends as Buddy the All-American basketball-playing dog, shared his thoughts on cybersecurity policy in an exclusive and unprecedented interview with the Daily Dot on Tuesday.

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The following is a real Twitter direct-message exchange between a Daily Dot reporter and the verified Air Bud Twitter account.

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THE DAILY DOT: air bud, i have a serious question…as a dog, do you think warrantless government surveillance is barking up the wrong tree?

AIR BUD: I think Norm Snively should definitely be tracked… he’s not nice.

Bud was referring to Norm Snively, the antagonist in the classic 1997 Disney film Air Bud. In the movie, Snively, an evil clown, repeatedly tries to capture Air Bud, the basketball-playing dog. We don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but rest assured that justice (and dunks) are served.

Bud’s response suggests that he supports targeted surveillance programs, although it is unclear to what extent he would support reform of current American surveillance operations, many of which have come under fire for reaching too far and disregarding civil liberties.

The athletic, golden-coated canine—who went on to dominate the games of football, soccer, volleyball, and baseball after becoming a breakout basketball star due to a loophole in a local youth league handbook—is also a proponent of adding “backdoors” to encryption so that law enforcement and intelligence officials can bypass that encryption during their investigations, much as Bud himself slipped through defense on the court. 

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Bud did not respond to a tweeted question about the surveillance disclosures of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Apparently, this topic was too hot for the famously skilled dog to handle.

Air Bud also declined to wade into the online culture wars, ducking a question about the objectification of his kind.

Afraid to take a stand for his species? Bad dog.

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Update 5:29pm CT, Jan. 12: Air Bud has at last issued official—if somewhat evasive—replies to the two queries above.

Additional reporting and research by Eric Geller, Kevin Collier, Andrew Couts, Aaron Sankin, Dell Cameron, Patrick Howell O’Neill, and Josh Rubin

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Photo via @AIRBUD/Twitter

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*First Published: Jan 12, 2016, 8:04 pm CST