Majority Of Americans Don't Mind Being Spied Upon, Pew Study Finds

Tyler Durden's picture

In what is likely the most disappointing, if not unexpected, news of the day, we find that according to a just released Pew Research study, a substantial majority, or 56% of Americans, "say the National Security Agency’s (NSA) program tracking the telephone records of millions of Americans is an acceptable way for the government to investigate terrorism." Only 41% object to having every phone conversation intercepted, investigated, analyzed, and recorded for posterity. Sorry Edward Snowden: you just threw your life away for nothing. The sheep have been properly and thoroughly conditioned and brainwashed, which is why they continue to get precisely the government they so rightfully deserve.

More from Pew:

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center and The Washington Post, conducted June 6-9 among 1,004 adults, finds no indications that last week’s revelations of the government’s collection of phone records and internet data have altered fundamental public views about the tradeoff between investigating possible terrorism and protecting personal privacy.

It just gets better:

Currently 62% say it is more important for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy. Just 34% say it is more important for the government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats.

 

These opinions have changed little since an ABC News/Washington Post survey in January 2006. Currently, there are only modest partisan differences in these opinions: 69% of Democrats say it is more important for the government to investigate terrorist threats, even at the expense of personal privacy, as do 62% of Republicans and 59% of independents.

 

However, while six-in-ten or more in older age groups say it is more important to investigate terrorism even if it intrudes on privacy, young people are divided: 51% say investigating terrorism is more important while 45% say it is more important for the government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible threats.

The survey finds that while there are apparent differences between the NSA surveillance programs under the Bush and Obama administrations, overall public reactions to both incidents are similar. Currently, 56% say it is acceptable that the NSA “has been getting secret court orders to track telephone calls of millions of Americans in an effort to investigate terrorism.”

In January 2006, a few weeks after initial new reports of the Bush administration’s surveillance program, 51% said it was acceptable for the NSA to investigate “people suspected of involvement with terrorism by secretly listening in on telephone calls and reading e-mails between some people in the United States and other countries, without first getting court approval to do so.”

Perhaps least surprising is that once the most vocal objector to "Dubya" pervasive surveillance, the Democrats, are now its most ardent defenders. And so once again, political party line stupidity trumps common sense.

Republicans and Democrats have had very different views of the two operations. Today, only about half of Republicans (52%) say it is acceptable for the NSA to obtain court orders to track phone call records of millions of Americans to investigate terrorism. In January 2006, fully 75% of Republicans said it was acceptable for the NSA to investigate suspected terrorists by listing in on phone calls and reading emails without court approval.

 

 

Democrats now view the NSA’s phone surveillance as acceptable by 64% to 34%. In January 2006, by a similar margin (61% to 36%), Democrats said it was unacceptable for the NSA to scrutinize phone calls and emails of suspected terrorists.

Of course, if the president was Romney, his head would already be on a stick. Metaphorically speaking of course.

Finally, the biggest danger to America it appears is not a turnkey totalitarian tyrant, but broad apathy as it turns out only one in four follow NSA News "very closely." The other 3 in 4 are far more concerned with who gets to fake-wed the fake-bachelorette this season, or who is the victor of Dancing with the Stars.

Roughly a quarter (27%) of Americans say they are following news about the government collecting Verizon phone records very closely. This is a relatively modest level of public interest.  Only another 21% say they are following this fairly closely, while about half say they are following not too (17%) or not at all (35%) closely.

 

Interest in reports about the government tracking of e-mail and online activities is almost identical: 26% say they are following this story very closely, 33% not closely at all.

 

Attention to these stories is higher among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents: 32% are following reports about the government tracking phone records very closely, compared with 24% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. The partisan gap in interest is almost identical when it comes to reports about government collecting email and other online information: 30% of Republicans and Republican-leaners are following very closely compared with 20% of Democrats and Democratic-leaners.

 

Overall, those who disagree with the government’s data monitoring are following the reports somewhat more closely than those who support them. Among those who find the government’s tracking of phone records to be unacceptable, 31% are following the story very closely, compared with 21% among those who say it is acceptable. Similarly with respect to reports about government monitoring of email and online activities, 28% of those who say this should not be done are following the news very closely, compared with 23% of those who approve of the practice.

Those who wish to be even more depressed can read on here.

As for Edward Snowden, hopefully this will teach you to throw away your life to liberate a bloated and apathetic society that couldn't care less if the slaughter-gate was slammed shut behind it, and just wants to have its rose-colored blinders on in perpetuity.