American public deems NSA's phone spying acceptable, says Pew study

By on June 11, 2013, 5:30 PM
nsa, internet, email, united states, privacy, terrorism, pew, prism

For anyone following the recent events regarding the NSA’s surveillance program, the news stories have probably caused you to reflect upon your own beliefs. You might agree that the American government’s mass collection of telephone metadata is warranted, so long as it is being used to combat terrorism efforts. You might also argue that these acts of surveillance are an invasion of privacy and a breach of constitutional rights. Regardless of your personal opinion, you know where you stand on the matter. But what does the public as a whole believe in? A new study conducted by the Pew Research Center aims to answer this very question.

According to MSNBC, the study found that 56 percent of Americans deem the NSA’s access to millions of telephone records “acceptable”. On a similar note, 62 percent of respondents said that the prevention of terrorist attacks was more important than personal privacy. These results can be compared to a similar survey conducted in November 2010, in which 68 percent of survey-takers also took this stance.

One might be led to believe that these results are fairly representative of the entire nation; however, the study identified a major disparity between different age groups.

As much as 45 percent of individuals falling within the ages of 18 and 30 believe that privacy is paramount, “even if that limits the government’s ability to investigate possible terrorist threats”. In stark contrast, fewer than 30 percent of people over the age of 50 agreed with this sentiment.

These results indicate that the younger generation’s dependence on the internet and other communication services might play a larger role than originally expected. In many instances, young individuals have much of their life contained in private accounts hosted on the web, and they are understandably uncomfortable with the government having such open access to their records.

Another interesting finding is that Americans consider spying on emails to be far worse than monitoring phone calls. When asked whether the government should be allowed to riffle through personal emails if it could help combat terrorism attacks, the majority (52 percent) of respondents said no.

Perhaps the question that sparked the biggest concern from civil libertarians was whether the government should be allowed to ramp up surveillance programs even further. The Pew study revealed that 45 percent of Americans would support this decision, as long as the prevention of terrorism was the main goal.




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3 people like this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

But what does the public as a whole believe in? A new study conducted by the Pew Research Center aims to answer this very question.
I'm not interested in a study. If you want to know what the masses think then put it to a vote. Until then keep lying to yourself with small time poll data.

3 people like this | bielius bielius said:

This thing should be closed already.

I call bs on this study, biased. All they want to do is to try to chill the raging citizens down, and then just let it be forgotten over time.

2 people like this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

A study set up by NSA, I'd wager...

dms96960 said:

I certainly trust MSNBC's poll results.

2 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

I certainly trust MSNBC's poll results.

You know... I don't trust their study either, and knowing that they worship Obama over there at MSNBC, I looked up some polls on this topic back when it started when Bush was prez. I expected to find that fewer people were in favor back then, but according to Gallup, people were ok with it back when it started too. It is hard to compare though because back then they were only talking about calls overseas, not within the country like they're doing now.

[link]

Guest said:

George Carlin said "All Americans want is cellphones that make toast. " So those who are to keen to support these questions asked in these polls won't mind having the Government watch them and their spouses copulate, shucks...it's already happening.

2 people like this | Guest said:

There is something truly smelly about the pew poll.

Guest said:

Not surprising since the people in this study most likely let the mainstream corporate media tell them what to think not how to think with news. It won't shock me if these people are more concern about professional sports and entertainment.

1 person liked this | psycros psycros said:

I certainly trust MSNBC's poll results.

You know... I don't trust their study either, and knowing that they worship Obama over there at MSNBC, I looked up some polls on this topic back when it started when Bush was prez. I expected to find that fewer people were in favor back then, but according to Gallup, people were ok with it back when it started too. It is hard to compare though because back then they were only talking about calls overseas, not within the country like they're doing now.

[link]

Exactly. That's how the government steals your rights..slowly and quietly. If we have to become a godless police state to combat the evils produced by *theocratic* police states, then we've lost before we've started. And remember, its the client who usually comes up with the questions for a poll, NOT the research company. In this case that client is the most liberal news network in America. I usually answer telephone polls if I'm reasonably sure their not a scam, and every "current event" poll I've been solicited for was full of loaded questions. I've refused to complete most of them because of this.

BlueDrake said:

We all know the news just tries to paint a pretty picture, to make the problems go away especially when they favor everything done. If anyone went on the attack against their "poll" it would be just brushed off, because they feel that their information is 100% credible. Most likely asked friends and general supporters for their feedback, then actually ask a huge pool of people overall.

A) It's less actual leg work and B) It makes them look better in the long run, because it allows them to calm the public while supporting the government.

We all know it's a public BS cover up to blind everyone, but I doubt any one huge news corporation is unbiased anymore.

Guest said:

For those who aren't suckers for dodgy polls there is much better coverage of this poll on techdirt, unfortunately techspot's spam filter is rubbish so I can't post a link :/

1 person liked this | jackal2687 said:

Those who trade liberty for security deserve neither.

misor misor said:

And who are these americans who deem phone spying acceptable?

a few years ago in Philippine politics:

under the senate's probe on illegal surveillance and wiretapping, a sergeant in the philippine army's intelligence service of the armed forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) claimed of being able to wiretap then president arroyo's phone conversation with a commisioner of the Philippine commission on elections (comelec); this was known as the "hello garci scandal".

the head of the ISAFP on the other hand said the AFP has no such wiretapping device.

-----

the defunct "24" u.s. tv series seems to glorify such illegal action.

while I love the show, it will be an unfortunate event if illegal activities such us wiretapping not granted by a competent court and torture are used in real life.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

MSNBC....LOL-that's all I have to say about that.

Also if you looked at the poll questions you would notice that when asked how closely they followed the wiretapping story the majority of respondents said, "Not at all closely", the most distant answer available. So to say the general public is apathetic and uninformed is probably an understatement and that is where our real problem is...

1 person liked this | Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

If people were OK with being spied on, why did the government keep it a secret?

Guest said:

...once again power of media, manipulation, smearing, polls that are shit based (like Pew Research Center) is brainwashing public opinion. Be a slave to it. Well people you shall regret it soon when your children one day will ask you: "why did you do nothing back then" - because I was complacent with my life and didn't care a damn about privacy, liberty etc. Benjamin Franklin was right - anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither. And Snowden was right as well - what I fear most is that nothing will change... Why have we lost all intellectual capacities ?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So to say the general public is apathetic and uninformed is probably an understatement and that is where our real problem is...
I'm more inclined to think the general public is being lied to, with the intentions of leading the masses into apathy. And the end result being an uninformed population standing behind a government by design. But hey this is just my opinion, who am I to say it's actually true or not.

Guest said:

Here's how too many of these polls work.

Q1: Do you think that some countries harbor terrorists?

Q2: Are these terrorists a threat to the U.S.?

Q3: Would you like the U.S. to prevent terrorist activity if possible?

Q4: Are you OK with the U.S. monitoring phone calls to catch terrorists?

A: Our study shows people are OK with monitoring of phones.

Be careful when reading opinion poll results. Also many people may say X in an opinion poll but vote Y when it really counts.

bexwhitt said:

I personally thought they had been doing this for year.

As a boring man with very little in the way of vice going on in my life, what have I personally to fear?

bexwhitt said:

I meant years, doh!

Raoul Duke Raoul Duke said:

The activities at Guantanamo, surveillance of their own citizens on an unprecedented scale....could go on and on......the fall of a once truly great nation.

2 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Exactly. That's how the government steals your rights..slowly and quietly. If we have to become a godless police state to combat the evils produced by *theocratic* police states, then we've lost before we've started. And remember, its the client who usually comes up with the questions for a poll, NOT the research company. In this case that client is the most liberal news network in America. I usually answer telephone polls if I'm reasonably sure their not a scam, and every "current event" poll I've been solicited for was full of loaded questions. I've refused to complete most of them because of this.

You're right, and they've already pulled it off in some places. Look at religion, it's pretty sacred in the US because religious freedom was a reason people left England in the first place. But what about education? Where did we get the idea that the govt would be better at deciding what school your child should attend than the parent of that child? You'd think picking your own school would be as easy as picking your own church, but it's not. Look up School Choice programs and you'll see tons of opposition. The difference? The govt is paying for schools, so they get a say in it. Well... we keep asking (and voting) for the govt to pay for more and more. Next they will be telling us what Dr we get to see, and what treatments we will receive.

We're digging ourselves a hole, complaining about it, but won't put down the shovel.

If people were OK with being spied on, why did the government keep it a secret?

Because letting the terrorists know our strategies makes it easy to avoid them.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

We're digging ourselves a hole, complaining about it, but won't put down the shovel.
This is one time I completely agree with you.

Guest said:

This study is important because it shows how messed up the public at large and their perceptions really are, I remember hearing about an awakening lol think everyone's fallen bk to sleep. these silly arsed governments need taken clean out of the picture by electing to not live in this way anymore, its corrupt in every way possible way this is just one example and people think its acceptable for them to spyed upon in the name of fighting terrorism, its is the terrorism and all governments are the terrorists its how the whole thing is structured it cant be any other way, and by letting it go on we may aswell be terrorists to all the starving in the world today, because as minipulated we are at least most of us at least know where our next meal is coming from, being spyed on kind of being left behind in that analogy. basically its all irrelevant in the end unless people understand what the real problems are and wake up and see thru all these fake boundries between us and the fake nonsense institutions that put them there in the 1st place. dont insult ppl with these stupid studies that only set limits on the topic and limits what responses people can give

p51d007 said:

Yeah, the public doesn't have a problem with it....UNTIL the data is used against them

in some way....THEN, they might have an issue.

"well Mr. Citizen, it looks here like you made a bunch of phone calls to the NRA, Catholic Church, a few gun clubs....We cannot give you a new hip replacement at this time, you might be a terrorist".

Don't think they government wouldn't use anything against its citizens, to maintain its power!

spencer spencer said:

I certainly trust MSNBC's poll results.

You know... I don't trust their study either, and knowing that they worship Obama over there at MSNBC, I looked up some polls on this topic back when it started when Bush was prez. I expected to find that fewer people were in favor back then, but according to Gallup, people were ok with it back when it started too. It is hard to compare though because back then they were only talking about calls overseas, not within the country like they're doing now.

[link]

Yeah MSNBC is literally like cartoons now days;when im bored and watching tv I turn it to MSNBC to just see how many stupid and untrue things they try doing and half off there hosts look like their on meth too;Like trying to blame a gun store owner that is properly licensed and protected by the constitution for the murders of children(by gun violence fueled by mass murder pills). And they just don't tell the truth.

Guest said:

The going to school bit is covered by the taxes and not by the government, your choice to have a private sphere and your private realm is protected by the constitution, the violation of these rights is not justified by the apparent necessity for better surveillance, but through better intelligence gathering without cutting down civil liberties, People seem confused and a poll like this is so easily modified for particular interests, which by the way are not related to who is in the office, he the president has little say in it, as those are already decided by the shadow government, administration who is really in charge., without oversight.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The going to school bit is covered by the taxes and not by the government.
What a ________!! If that was the case taxes would cover school cost, regardless of where you went. Not true! If you don't go to a government controlled school, taxes will not pay and you are left with paying your own way.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

I'm more inclined to think the general public is being lied to, with the intentions of leading the masses into apathy. And the end result being an uninformed population standing behind a government by design. But hey this is just my opinion, who am I to say it's actually true or not.

I guess we'll have to wait for the history books to see exactly what is happening!

I personally thought they had been doing this for year.

As a boring man with very little in the way of vice going on in my life, what have I personally to fear?

I'm sure you will find that the vast majority of Jews, Blacks, Christians, etc. had little to no "vice" in their lives prior to 1933 and the rise of the Nazi Party. I'm not comparing the US to the Nazi Party by any means. However, to think its impossible will land you right back in that same situation. I am saying that you have vice in your life when the government says you do. Don't wait for the shit to hit the fan, it'll be too late.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I guess we'll have to wait for the history books to see exactly what is happening!
Please our history books are filled full of lies to cover up what really happened. Our current events will be no different.

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