​SM& President & crisis communications expert Ashley McCown was interviewed by national PR trade, PRWeek, offering her point of view on the controversy over the National Security Agency's data tapping program. “There are times with federal, large-scale investigations when the target can't say anything. It's a really tricky situation when you are effectively silent like that,” Ashley said in regards to Verizon and other corporations forced to handover customer data. Ashley goes on to prescribe the use of third-party experts or “ambassadors” by tech and telecommunications companies to explain the issue to customers and employees. “Given the fact that they're effectively muted, there needs to be surrogates deployed to engage media and also on social media. They can share facts and speak as objective third-party sources, not on behalf of one company but on behalf of the entire industry,” said Ashley. “This is a big story that's not going away.” Follow Ashley on twitter at @SMCCrisisPR.