SAUK RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) – It was Edward Snowden’s revelations of domestic spying by the National Security Agency that hatched the idea — graphic artist Dan McCall would take the NSA’s emblem and create a new look with a funny twist.
“When I got finished I thought, this is pretty good – I thought it was fun,” McCall said.
Soon, he was having T-shirts emblazoned with the NSA logo accompanied by the slogan, “peeping while you’re sleeping.” Under the parodied emblem was the statement, “the only part of government that actually listens.”
What McCall meant as pure parody, apparently wasn’t very funny to bureaucrats at the NSA.
While he calls it parody they call a violation of the spy agency’s intellectual property.
“Because when you’re pointing straight at an organization or making fun at it, turning it on itself, that is classic parody,” he said.
The agency ordered him to cease and desist and forced his T-shirts off the market. But on Tuesday, the father of three young boys drew a line in the sand.
With the assistance of the Washington D.C.-based consumer advocacy group, Public Citizen, he’s suing the spy agency for violating his First Amendment rights.
McCall said he doesn’t want his kids to grow up in a country where you can’t humor your own government.
McCall said it’s important “that we clarify whether or not these types of laws are consistent with the rights as Americans under the First Amendment.”