Verizon denies censoring spying stories on own tech news website

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Wednesday 29 October 2014 19:40
Science and Tech

Verizon, a company that handed over millions of its customers' phone records to the NSA, has denied banning reporters on a new website it is bankrolling from writing about US government "spying" or net neutrality.

According to the Daily Dot, a recruitment email from SugarString, which was launched in June by the US communications firm, told a prospective employee (in this case, one of the Dot's reporters) about the apparent self-censorship.

A screengrab of the email supposedly sent by SugarString’s new editor Cole Stryker can be viewed here.

Responding to the story, a spokesperson for Verizon told

SugarString is a pilot project from Verizon Wireless' marketing group, designed to address tech trends, especially those of interest to our customers.

Unlike the characterisation by its new editor, SugarString is open to all topics that fit its mission and elevate the conversation around technology.

  • Verizon statement

Although Verizon responded to's request for comment, Mr Stryker has not responded to questions about the email.

Edward Snowden's first revelation to the Guardian last year showed that the NSA was acquiring millions of phone records from Verizon on a daily basis.

SugarString currently carries stories on the future of anonymous browsing, a story on the “deep web” and law enforcement agencies using GPS tracking - but all without mention of the presumably relevant concerns of government surveillance and net neutrality.

The Daily Dot said that if Verizon was planning on ignoring US government spying and net neutrality then it called into question how SugarString could ever be a “fair, comprehensive, and honest journalistic institution”.

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