There are those who think it vital for Congress to give retroactive legal immunity to companies assisting in the NSA program. AT&T (T) and other major carriers are being sued over their reported roles in the program which permitted eavesdropping without warrants.

Will these events keep their marketing efforts from catching on?

Telecom ETFs affected by privacy issues in the telecom industry include:

  • HOLDRS Merrill Lynch Telecom (TTH): down 39.5% year-to-date; Verizon is 27.1%; AT&T is 57.7%

  • iShares Dow Jones U.S. Telecommunications Index (IYZ): down 48.6% year-to-date; Verizon is 15.9%; AT&T is 22%

ETF IYZ performance

  • Vanguard Telecom (VOX): down 46% year-to-date; Verizon is 20.5%; AT&T is 18.7%

ETF VOX performance