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  (Source: AP)
Majority approves of government tracking phone records (and by proxy location)

new study by the non-partisan Pew Research Center suggests that for all the attention paid by the media, social libertarians, and civil rights advocates regarding government spying, the majority of Americans are okay with their federal government spying on them to an extent.

The survey reports that 56 percent of Americans think its fine for the government to seize daily phone records of millions of Americans, most of whom have never committed a crime.  These records can be used to track a person's position over time. Only 41 percent of respondents opposed the seizures.

Further, nearly half of Americans (45 percent) want the government to monitor everyone's email to fight terrorism, while only a little more than half (52 percent) want to keep their email private.  This is nearly identical to 2002, when 45 percent of people supported email monitoring and 52 percent opposed it.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, partisan politics continue to be a route both of America's ruling parties use to convince people to embrace their bipartisan monitoring efforts.  In Jan. 2006, 61 percent of self-identified Democrats opposed monitoring, versus only 23 percent of Republicans.  At the time 75 percent of Republicans supported surveillance programs by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

Gmail 
Nearly one out of every two Americans is fine with the government tracking them and reading their email.  [Image Source: CNN]

Today, nearly twice as many Republicans (47 percent) oppose monitoring, while only about half as many (34 percent) Democrats oppose it.  It appears that for many Americans they only oppose the government spying on them if it’s the political party they don't like.  Similar trends are observed on the topic of email monitoring.

Also perhaps predictable is the fact that support of a police state and 24-7 surveillance increases with age.  Among people age 18-29, 45 percent think the government should prioritize privacy over security, while for individuals age 65+ only 25 percent feel privacy is most important.

Also interesting is the fact that only a fourth of Americans are monitoring the NSA news story closely -- less Americans than the NSA is authorized to monitor, ironically.  While older people tend to have the least opposition to government monitoring, counter intuitively they're following the news about the NSA leaks the closest.

The survey of 1,004 individuals was conducted by Princeton Data Source.  The results were weighted based on the demographics of the individual and census statistics.

Source: Pew Research Center



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RE: Defnition
By ebakke on 6/11/2013 11:21:00 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Democracy: a system by which the people are guaranteed a government no better than they deserve.
The people are guaranteed a government no better than the majority deserves. The minority's just along for the ride.


RE: Defnition
By toffty on 6/11/2013 11:32:09 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
The people are guaranteed a government no better than the majority deserves. The minority's just along for the ride.


Really only true in a two party political system like the US. It’s why the founding fathers wanted to ban parties all together. Sadly they couldn't, because that would infringe on the 1st amendment.

What the US really desperately needs is 4 or 5 parties. There are extremes in which 1 party might be > 50% but the chances are much smaller than a 2 party system and companies is a must.

Compromise is the only way a democracy/republic can correctly function.


RE: Defnition
By toffty on 6/11/2013 11:47:39 AM , Rating: 2
lol spelling is fun

... and compromise is a must.


RE: Defnition
By Motoman on 6/11/2013 11:51:12 AM , Rating: 3
A compromise amongst idiots is still an act of stupidity.

The founding fathers were right - political parties do nothing but ultimately corrupt a government. Banning them wouldn't infringe the 1st amendment. People could still assemble and talk and discuss and whatever...that's not limited. But there would be no (D) or (R) on the sheets at the polls, no Majority this or Minority that in Washington, so on and so forth. Everybody can say and do whatever they want...but these NGOs that actually run everything will go bye-bye, and voters will actually have to *engage* in the process if they want to vote, rather than just cataleptically poke everything on the sheet that says either D or R next to it.


RE: Defnition
By BRB29 on 6/11/2013 12:29:50 PM , Rating: 3
This is why I think the whole privacy rage recently is retarded. These things have been going on since before most of us here are even born. People just like to enrage and then listen to the next sweet nothings politicians throw out to calm their fears. They're sick of government but then listen to whatever their political party says lol.

Same stupid thing with this Snowden guy. Says he believes in Privacy Rights and willing to throw his life away to stand for it. Then runs to one of the top anti-privacy country in the world where everything is monitored and the internet has built in restrictions lol.


RE: Defnition
By ebakke on 6/11/2013 12:34:24 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Defnition
By BRB29 on 6/11/2013 12:44:07 PM , Rating: 2
What does that got anything to do with this guy leaking NSA TS files and ran there? He is not a citizen there. Your link clearly states there is monitoring of the internet and emails. Their government also "generally" respect privacy like ours.


RE: Defnition
By ebakke on 6/11/2013 12:49:02 PM , Rating: 2
Your claim:
quote:
Then runs to [Hong Kong, where] the internet has built in restrictions lol.

The link in my response:
quote:
No websites, regardless of their political views, are blocked and government licenses are not required to operate a website.


RE: Defnition
By BRB29 on 6/11/2013 12:55:04 PM , Rating: 2
so you must have conveniently skipped this in your link too
quote:
There is some monitoring of the Internet


RE: Defnition
By ebakke on 6/11/2013 12:59:07 PM , Rating: 3
Monitoring (watching) and restrictions (filtering) are two completely different things. To imply they are the same is disingenuous.


RE: Defnition
By BRB29 on 6/11/2013 1:09:36 PM , Rating: 1
Pursuant to the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance (Cap 390), it is an offense to publish an obscene article


RE: Defnition
By ebakke on 6/11/2013 1:11:11 PM , Rating: 2
Again, criminal statutes are completely different from your claim of "built in restrictions". Are you trying to be confrontational, or do you honestly not see the difference?


RE: Defnition
By BRB29 on 6/11/2013 1:19:33 PM , Rating: 2
Criminal statutes are restrictions.

Ok, I admit I made the mistake of writing "built in" because I was thinking of China since HK is part of China now. That is something you've just brought up in this reply.

Your original reply just said restriction and you defined it as filtering. There's more ways to restrict than filtering.


RE: Defnition
By ebakke on 6/11/2013 4:44:02 PM , Rating: 2
"built in" was exactly my beef. You were implying that he went to a place that has less personal privacy and more restrictive internet access than the US. And you were laughing at him for it. I wanted to point out that you were wrong, and it was you who looked the fool. It's refreshing to see you admit it.


RE: Defnition
By Cheesew1z69 on 6/11/2013 10:40:36 PM , Rating: 2
He likes to comment on things he knows nothing about as if actually thinks he knows.


RE: Defnition
By nafhan on 6/11/2013 2:44:00 PM , Rating: 2
These discussions have almost certainly been going since government existed! The thing is governments in ancient times up to about 50 years ago always had trouble answering the question: "Who watches the watchers?", as the bureaucracy for maintaining a human network that keeps tabs on everyone was untenable. NOW, computers are the watchers and a relatively small group of people can keep tabs on "the watchers" while gathering increasingly meaningful information from these systems.

In short, we are coming to a point human society has never been at before: the point where a surveillance society is a real possibility. Pretending it's not a problem is asking for something bad to happen.


RE: Defnition
By ScotterQX6700 on 6/11/2013 5:19:56 PM , Rating: 2
Hong Kong is one of the most free speech and free trade adherent areas in the world. Do not confuse Hong Kong with China.


RE: Defnition
By ritualm on 6/11/2013 6:25:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hong Kong is one of the most free speech and free trade adherent areas in the world. Do not confuse Hong Kong with China.

Categorically false.

Hong Kong was never the same after the handover. Chinese political leaders have a favorite phrase regarding the former British colony: "no change for fifty years". Oh really? Major changes were already afoot even before the handover officially began.

Here are a few clues:

1. The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is not elected by the people, but by Beijing. This immediately means the head honcho must garner official party support in China to have a shot at office.

2. Members of the Democratic Party, due to its views and policies often at odds with the mainland Chinese government's, are disallowed from holding senior positions in the HKSAR government.

3. Since the Tienanmen Square Massacre of 1989, pro-democracy activists held candlelight vigils at the grounds of Victoria Park on June 4 every year, as well as peaceful demonstrations on the streets. Since the handover, these activities have been severely curtailed and restricted.

4. Senior HKSAR officials are routinely and indirectly implicated in censorship scandals involving mass media in Hong Kong and free speech. In fact, the latest furor happened mere weeks ago.

5. The Hong Kong that I knew in January 1994 was very different than the Hong Kong I saw in October 2005. Today's Hong Kong isn't very far removed from other cities in mainland China. There is really no confusion politically.


RE: Defnition
By 91TTZ on 6/11/2013 6:20:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This is why I think the whole privacy rage recently is retarded. These things have been going on since before most of us here are even born.


It's invalid reasoning to suggest that an illegal act is ok just because it's been happening longer than they were willing to admit.

I remember just a few years ago people were denying that this widescale eavesdropping was taking place. Now that they've been exposed they're saying that it's been happening for many years.

The fact is that the government tends to want to do things that it's not allowed to do. That's why they attempt to operate in secrecy. Once they're exposed they're liable to be sued and win.


RE: Defnition
By Mint on 6/12/2013 12:24:44 AM , Rating: 2
It hasn't been illegal since the the Patriot Act was passed.

That vastly expanded gov't powers for surveillance, and in the grand scheme of things there was barely a whimper about it.

The US has been manipulated to become scared sh**less about terrorism. There's no doubt that the CIA & NSA can get useful information from this spying and thwart some terrorist attacks, but why is it so important to stop this miniscule percentage of US homicide that privacy can be sacrificed? It's time to grow some balls.

Unfortunately, nothing is going to change on this front.

Obama never promised to appeal or vastly overhaul the Patriot Act, because it would have been political suicide. He paid lip service to improving oversight, implement some minor half-hearted changes, and that's it.


RE: Defnition
By BRB29 on 6/11/2013 3:08:57 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
What the US really desperately needs is 4 or 5 parties. There are extremes in which 1 party might be > 50% but the chances are much smaller than a 2 party system and companies is a must.


They had a 3 party systems for a while. It didn't work either.

2 parties = 2 sides
more parties does not work better

I just don't understand why people accept the party concept. Your senators and representatives are supposed to represent their people. Instead, they ban together and form a party voting for the same thing.

There shouldn't even be one party.

If every politician actually represent their people, then laws/regulations would actually bring contentment to the majority of people. Instead we get confusion and chaos these days and everyone points the finger at each other.

We're trying to fix corruption yet we voted for it every time a person walks in a booth and vote all blue or red.


RE: Defnition
By Reclaimer77 on 6/11/2013 3:14:50 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Really only true in a two party political system like the US.


Yeah because you have oh no many more rights and freedoms in countries with more diverse party systems? Or monarchies?

Parties aren't our problem, at least not our main one. It's the Federal Government. And no matter who you hand the keys to, the fact is this machine now has about 10,000 more horsepower and 200 more cylinders than it was designed to have. It's not a question of if the power will be abused, it's simply when.


RE: Defnition
By Mint on 6/12/2013 12:30:18 AM , Rating: 2
This is not abuse of power. The US public gave the gov't this power, renewed it, and continue to approve its use.

It's sad and pathetic, but true.


RE: Defnition
By Piiman on 6/15/2013 9:43:35 AM , Rating: 2
How did the US public give the government this power? I don't recall a public vote on it. It was passed by Congress and backed by President GWB. No one gave a rat’s ass about asking the Public. Of course it was also done right after 9/11 attacks which probably limited the backlash, at the time. Hopeful people are starting to wake up and figure out the Patriot act is anything but.


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