'Big Brother vibes': Spy agency ditches job ads after mixed reviews from focus groups

·1 min read

OTTAWA — Canada's cyberspy agency has changed course on proposed recruitment efforts after focus groups found job ads had too much of a "Big Brother vibe."

The Communications Security Establishment spent just over $56,000 earlier this year on research from Earnscliffe Strategy Group that explored reactions to various branding concepts, including graphic designs that featured big camera lenses.

Some focus group participants told the researchers that the agency's logo in the middle of a lens evoked "surveillance, a Big Brother vibe, and that CSE is always watching."

In a statement, the cybersecurity agency specifically tested Chinese-language ads as part of its effort to recruit diverse analysts to monitor foreign intelligence.

After the research found little awareness of CSE's mission among potential recruits, it is pivoting its efforts around a new tag line this fall: "The most important organization you've never heard of."

The agency says it has grown its workforce by more than 20 per cent since 2019.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 26, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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