Karp, on Colbert, More Supportive of Porn Than User Privacy From NSA

david karp, tumblr, yahoo, NSA surveillance, pornography, blogging, blogsLast night, Tumblr founder David Karp appeared on The Colbert Report. Asked about pornography on Tumblr and the NSA’s surveillance dragnet, Karp argued much more assertively for the rights of porn producers than for users who want to keep their information out of the government’s hands.

Asked if Tumblr intended to purge pornography from the network, Karp offered a pretty clear — and colorful — denial.

“We’ve taken a pretty hard line on freedom of speech, supporting our users and creation, whatever that looks like. It’s just not something we want to police. When you have someone like Terry Richardson or any number of very talented photographers posting tasteful photos, I don’t want to have to go in there to draw the line between this behind-the scenes-photo of Lady Gaga and, like, her nip,” Karp said.

Well then.

Then Colbert served Karp up an opportunity to say he’d fight for his users if the NSA asked him for their private information.

“That’s a complicated question, Stephen, you’re putting me on the spot,” Karp fumbled.

Then he punted.

“We don’t want to give [the NSA] anything that’s not in the best interests of our users, and we’ve fought for that for six years,” he said. (Tumblr launched six years ago.)

To Karp’s credit, the NSA often slaps companies with gag orders that prevent them from talking about any “requests” they’ve gotten for user information. Still, Karp might have made a stronger case, in the hypothetical, about handing over user information to the feds.

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