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We had no idea that the dog best known for his basketball skills was also a tech-policy aficionado.
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.
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.
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.
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
Photo via @AIRBUD/Twitter
Once named one of Forbes’ 20 Under 20 and hired as a staff writer for the Daily Dot when he was still a senior in high school, William Turton is a rising tech reporter focusing on information security, hacking culture, and politics. Since leaving the Daily Dot in April 2016, his work has appeared on Gizmodo, the Outline, and Vice News Tonight on HBO.