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Majority of Americans Say NSA Phone Tracking Is OK To Fight Terrorism 584

An anonymous reader writes "While the tech media has gone wild the past few days with the reports of the NSA tracking Verizon cell usage and creating the PRISM system to peer into our online lives, a new study by Pew Research suggests that most U.S. citizens think it's okay. 62 percent of Americans say losing some personal privacy is acceptable as long as its used to fight terrorism, and 56 percent are okay with the NSA tracking phone calls. Online tracking is fair less popular however, with only 45 percent approving of the practice. The data also shows that the youth are far more opposed to curtailing privacy to fight terror, which could mean trouble for politicians planning to continue these programs in the coming years."
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Majority of Americans Say NSA Phone Tracking Is OK To Fight Terrorism

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  • Bull Shit! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:05AM (#43971427)
    It's not true!
    • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sparticus789 ( 2625955 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:24AM (#43971607) Journal

      I believe the poll results, but only for one reason. Because the responses were framed in the context of "to fight terrorism." Most mindless sheep would say that it is ok to sacrifice anything, to prevent terrorism.

      That's not the problem. The problem is what the government can/will do with the information when the political climate is favorable to the party in charge. Say for example, pull every phone call and e-mail from a political opponent to conduct opposition research. Or find out who has a gun in their house, and enact nationwide confiscation. Or scan their e-mails for keywords to indicate someone's political beliefs, and investigating or auditing those people because they disagree with the political party in charge.

      That is the danger. Not terrorism from outside, from terrorism conducted by our own government.

      • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by zwei2stein ( 782480 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:32AM (#43971687) Homepage

        "I have nothing to hide" needs to die. And goverment actions are exactly the reason:

        Did judes have anything to hide from goverment before Nazis came to power?

        Nope. Yet they suffered greatly because of goverment knowledge of their ethnicity.

        Was being communist or friend of one crime in US before red scare?

        Nope. But then red scare came and whowledge of who is fiend with who destroyed careers and lives.

        Was Alan Turing doing anything wrong?

        Nope. But he was still brutalized and died as a result after nature of his sexuality was revealed.

        Was ownership of land of factories crime?

        Nope. But then commies came to power on many countries and people were shited to prisons, prison colonies or executed outright.

        In history, many people thought that their religion, political orientiation, sexual orientation, friendships and relationships, ownerships or opinions. ... that none of it would ever be issue because they are not doing anything wrong or illegal or even mean.

        And they were wrong. And died because of it.

        Laws change. Society changes. Rules change. People in power change. Things can be taken out of context, or put into another.

        You might be completelly fine one day, and monster another.

        And if list of "monsters" can be gotten as easily as simple database querry, it is best not to be part of it. And to not have any such database.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Was Alan Turing doing anything wrong? Nope.

          Actually legally he was doing something wrong. By the standards of the day, I suspect most people would have considered his sexual activies/sexuality morally unacceptable as well. The rest of your examples have a "before" to compare them to, but that one doesn't quite fit.

          • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:31AM (#43973237)

            He was doing something illegal, which isn't the same thing as wrong. No amount of moral relativism will ever convince me that the actions of 2 consenting adults is "wrong" in an ethical sense.

        • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:29AM (#43972375)

          People are slow to learn from History, a government spying on its people if allowed will be abused, governments will use patriotism against you and even get your children to spy for them as was done by Germany during WWII. Researching and storing information on people is dangerous too as Germany used their own and captured census data in invaded countries with IBM Hollerith machines to sort the Jews from the general population, round them up and send them to the death camps. These are far from the only examples.

          "Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

          -- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

          Why do you think they called it the "Patriot Act" and congress voted for it unread? Almost unaminously at that.

        • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by cfulton ( 543949 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:35AM (#43973281)
          You don't even need to go there to see how the data can be abused. Try these on for size:

          -- If you track the phone calls of the CEO of BigOlCorp and he is talking to the CEO of NewButGrowingInc a lot then purchasing NewButGrowing stock will probably be a good deal when the buyout happens.
          -- If you are, say, Walmart and you don't want to be unionized. Just have the NSA tell you which employees are calling the AFL/CIO and quietly let them go.
          -- If rival companies were working to get a contract that was at bid, knowing who called whom and when would give a competitive advantage.
          -- Hate gays. You could out every phone number that called a gay chat line.
          -- Hate porn. You could publish a list of porn watchers. (OK that would be everybody but...)

          Everyone who says that if you have done nothing illegal have nothing to fear has not thought the issue through. And as has been said here before we ALL have something to hide.

      • I believe the poll results, but only for one reason. Because the responses were framed in the context of "to fight terrorism."

        I suspect you're right. Poll results are notoriously sensitive to exactly how the questions are phrased. The other problem is that those polled might not understand the entire scope of the program, or have considered how it can be misused and how little protection against misuse there might be (or might not be - that's the charming thing about a secret court). Nevertheless I find the overall results very depressing. IIRC there have been polls from time to time asking people if they believed in the principle

        • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:4, Informative)

          by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:01AM (#43971993) Journal

          Poll results are notoriously sensitive to exactly how the questions are phrased. The other problem is that those polled might not understand the entire scope of the program, or have considered how it can be misused and how little protection against misuse there might be (or might not be - that's the charming thing about a secret court)

          I wonder if the polls would have the same result if they were asked if their information were used in a presidential campaign?

          “Earlier this year, in an interview with TV One, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) praised President Barack Obama for putting together a campaign database that "will have information about everything on every individual."

          “And that database will have information about everything on every individual in ways that it’s never been done before,” Waters told “Washington Watch” host Roland, referring to Obama’s “Organizing for America,” which was changed from a campaign organization to a 501(c)(4) called Organizing for Action. ...
          Martin asked if Waters if she was referring to “Organizing for America.”

          “That’s right, that’s right,” Waters said. “And that database will have information about everything on every individual in ways that it’s never been done before.”

          Waters said the database would also serve future Democratic candidates seeking the presidency.

          “He’s been very smart,” Waters said of Obama. “I mean it’s very powerful what he’s leaving in place.”


          Remember, winning means everything. It's not about getting more voters. It's about getting more of YOUR voters to vote (or at least make it appear that way). The first step in getting your own voters out is to know who they are, where they live, what they are doing, etc. The other half of this is what is going to happen to use who do not vote for the (D) candidate?

        • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @01:09PM (#43975509)

          I believe the poll results, but only for one reason. Because the responses were framed in the context of "to fight terrorism."

          I suspect you're right. Poll results are notoriously sensitive to exactly how the questions are phrased. The other problem is that those polled might not understand the entire scope of the program, or have considered how it can be misused and how little protection against misuse there might be (or might not be - that's the charming thing about a secret court). Nevertheless I find the overall results very depressing. IIRC there have been polls from time to time asking people if they believed in the principles of the Bill of Rights (but phrased in such a way that it wasn't obvious they were talking about the Bill of Rights). Unfortunately what many (including me) consider the most important part of American law didn't fare well. Thank goodness the 1st Congress was filled with radicals.

          Make no mistake, this poll was engineered to show the end result. The goal of this is to make people who feel disgusted with PRISM to question why they feel disgusted. If no one else does, perhaps they should just let go and consent.

      • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rubinhood ( 977039 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:00AM (#43971987)

        "I believe the poll results"

        Well I don't. The kleptocracy that can invade everyone's privacy at will can easily sway statistics as well.

        Eisenhower's nightmare has come true. The monster that was created against the foes of both World Wars has turned against the society that created it. It's become the reason for its own existence.

      • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hydian ( 904114 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:53AM (#43972691)

        That isn't even the immediate problem. Those are simply potential problems that will occur when the system is inevitably misused.

        The immediate and very real problem is the Steve Jackson Games problem. Since they are using the overly broad data that they collect to look for connections that may or may not exist, everyone is in danger of being violated in the name of fighting terrorism just because someone they have had contact with has had contact with someone that is on a list.

        • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @12:17PM (#43974713) Journal

          Since they are using the overly broad data that they collect to look for connections that may or may not exist, everyone is in danger of being violated in the name of fighting terrorism just because someone they have had contact with has had contact with someone that is on a list.

          "And that's a small price to pay, as long as it it's them, not me. And it'll never be me. I'm a good American."

          It's never "me" until suddenly it is.

          The sad lesson of the past: the sad lessons of the past apply to everyone, but no one will believe it applies to them until reality proves it to them. People (rightly) complain about American exceptionalism, but exceptionalism applies to individuals and small self-identifying groups (e.g., "right-thinking patriots") as well.

      • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:37AM (#43973291)
        I disagree, I think the sheep willing to give up anything to prevent terrorism IS the larger issue. It ensures that politicians will always be there to make that deal with them. Getting elected by playing to people's paranoia is much easier than getting elected by leading people to actually improve the country.

        Politician A: We need to fix the budget. We are spending a ridiculous amount of money on national defense, way too much for how much we're raising in tax revenue...

        Politician B: OMG DID YOU HEAR THAT?!?! He wants to RAISE TAXES and CUT THE MILITARY! At a time when terrorists are threatening your children!!!

        Politician A should win, but politician B will. That's already going on on a massive scale, while the possibility you present doesn't seem to be happening as much right now. And our grandchildren will be paying it off.
      • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Informative)

        by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @11:28AM (#43973991) Journal
        There's another poll that says only 26% favor the government’s secret collecting of these phone records for national security purposes regardless of whether there is any suspicion of wrongdoing. [] Also, 56% of Likely U.S. Voters now consider the federal government a threat to individual rights rather than a protector of those rights. That’s up 10 points from 46% in December. [] So your suspicion is right, if you ask different poll questions, you get different results. (warning: those pages auto-play video with sound).

        The question in the story asks, "Are you willing to give up some personal privacy," and that question is too broad. I am willing to give up some personal privacy if it saves lives, for example, I am more than happy to tell you the color of my carpet is red and my walls are white, and my carpet is blue. I am annoyed, but willing to have my bags searched at airports if it helps. So saying 'some privacy'.......well that doesn't tell you anything about the NSA listening to phone calls.
    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "It's not true!"

      I suspect it is. But, that's why we have a Constitution which (ostensibly) grants only limited powers to government, and guarantees rights - to avoid a tyranny of the majority. Being a democracy however, politicians are inclined to ignore the Constitution in favor of votes from the majority, as the case at hand demonstrates.
  • by liamevo ( 1358257 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:05AM (#43971429)

    That the majority of the public are short term thinking morons?
    It doesn't matter whether or not all that has been claimed of PRISM is true, they are happy to give up privacy and freedoms if it "helps fight terrorism"

    • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:16AM (#43971517)
      In other news, Pew Research has denied receiving a National Security Letter demanding that they release a poll with the numbers 62%, 56% and 45%.
      • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:03AM (#43972847)
        Exactly. Welcome to propaganda media 101. Yesterday, watching CNN people were given 1 opinion over and over with no facts. The opinion of course was that Snowden was a dangerous person needing to be imprisoned. No mention of the crimes he's revealed of course. I'm guessing other media this morning will follow suite, and provide a similar opinion without facts. What's really sad is that so many don't question our propaganda.. er media.. system.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:18AM (#43971535)

      That the majority of the public are short term thinking morons?

      50% of the country is happy to give up privacy and freedom if it hurts the other party. That the 50% who were against it when Bush was doing it are suddenly for it now, and the 50% that were all for it when Bush was doing it but are suddenly against it now just shows how nearsighted the whole lot are.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MitchDev ( 2526834 )

      I don't think they "thinking" at all, just morons and sheep...

      I'm surprised that the younger generation is so against it, given the lax attitude schools have in teaching rational thought and logic and instead focusing on "zero tolerance", and mindless memorization...

      Maybe there is some hope for the future after all...

    • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:19AM (#43971551) Homepage
      The question is also flawed because we don't know if this really "helps fight terrorism". Do they need to tap everyone's phones and internet? Or could they do just as well targeting a few specific people who might actually be involved in terrorism? Does this kind of activity actually create more terrorism by giving people, both the stereotypical Muslim enemy they want us to believe they are guarding us against, and the homegrown terrorist such as people like McVeigh who feel a need to lash out against the government/wall street/mega corporations. The question makes the assumption that this kind of surveillance makes catching terrorists before they commit their acts, and also assumes that terrorism is actually a big problem, where most likely neither of the two are correct.
      • by buchner.johannes ( 1139593 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:38AM (#43971731) Homepage Journal

        The German government has stated that collecting connection information beyond 1 week is unreasonable and unjustified to fight crime and terrorism. If you have reasonable suspicion, convince a judge and get a warrant, then you can wiretap as you wish, and you have the recent history. If not, don't store the data.

        The German government has a guideline for all IT projects promoting the principle of collecting the least data ("Datensparsamkeit" ~= "data frugality").

        Data tends to be illegally used for other things then intended. And it is not effective. It costs the government and companies real money. And it costs people their privacy without seeing something in return besides promises.

        • Can you imagining telling vets just after WWII that someday Americans would (correctly) cite Germany as a bastion of civil rights? Granted, Germany has seriously cleaned up its act, but what bothers me is that's not the only change.
      • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:40AM (#43971751)

        The question is also flawed because we don't know if this really "helps fight terrorism".

        And we're not going to find out, because the program is classified. It could be wildly successful and thwarting a dozen bomb plots a day. It could be a total failure, resulting in dozens of arrests of innocent people a day.

        The thing that baffles me is not that people are willing to give up freedom if it "helps fight terrorism," it's that they believe what the government does in the name of fighting terrorism is working, when they don't believe anything else the federal government does is working.

        I wonder how different the poll results would have been if Snowden had released the documents six months after the Boston bombing instead of six weeks after.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I was talking to my co-workers yesterday about the ben franklin quote (they had never heard of it; but they were not from here, they were from india and china and other asian countries). I was the only one at our table who knew of the franklin quote (trading liberty for security, etc).

          they were ALL FOR the spying if it 'saved any lives'.

          I could not convince them that this is not what america was all about.

          thing is: in the bay area, at least, native born US citizens are the minority now! those who KNOW wha

        • by F.Ultra ( 1673484 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:47AM (#43972621)
          Actually I think that if they had been wildly successful then we would hear about it, and hear about it alot. Consider all the plots that they have "caught" and how quickly that was posted to the media, and how unlikely plots they really where, to me that indicates that they are desperat to publish every success.
  • by captainpanic ( 1173915 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:11AM (#43971471)

    The majority of Americans (1) don't understand the extent of the surveillance, and (2) don't understand why privacy is so important.

    I totally believe this poll.

    This article says that 70% of Americans don't know what the constitution is: []

    • by 0ld_d0g ( 923931 )
      I think that's because most of the prosecution under the BS Espionage act isn't very public. I think some celebrity should get sued by the government so that it would be written all over the popular trashy magazines... :)
    • by MalachiK ( 1944624 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:35AM (#43971699)

      The article that you link to in the Daily Mail panders to a peculiar kind of 'stupid american' stereotype that we Brits cling to when we want to feel better about the end of empire and the decline of our military and industrial might. You could replace the questions with ones of similar obscurity from British history and get a similar set of responses from a random selection of British folk. Try going out onto any street in the UK and asking the yokels about the 1689 Bill of Rights. Or get them to point to the location of the Battle of Trafalgar / Waterloo / Balaclava on a map.

      The average guy on the street is just as ignorant everywhere in the world.

    • by internerdj ( 1319281 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:56AM (#43971931)
      Half of American households make $50520 or less a year. When my household was below median income, I know we had bigger things to worry about than privacy. It may be important but it isn't pressing for most people.
      • A population is easy to control if you keep them poor and ignorant. Mix in some government controlled media to tell the plebes what to think and how to vote and now you have full control without anyone really knowing or caring. The dissidents can be silenced and shunned by the majority as the nationalistic ideals emerge that true patriotism is doing what uncle sam tells you to do.

    • That article can't seem to make up its mind. First the caption for the first image says, "In the U.S. citizenship test, only 38 per cent of Americans passed [...]", and then below that it says "Although the majority passed, more than a third - 38 per cent - failed [...]". Which one is it? Did 38% fail, or did 38% pass? If Americans don't understand their government then apparently the Brits don't understand numbers, or at least are willing to ignore their meaning if it means a juicier headline.
  • by Coeurderoy ( 717228 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:15AM (#43971509)

    Most people are weak and prefer not to think about "bad things", and prefer security with freedom, they would not know what to do with it if they would have some...

    This said it would be interesting to ask the same questions in the following way:

    Assuming that of the two leading parties the one you like least has the majority in senat and house of representative, and presidential powers.

    Would you agree to warrent-less investigations of phones calls, emails, instant messages, social network posting, microblogging posting, private forum messages in order to fight terrorism is:
    - a good thing
    - necessary
    - undecided
    - useless
    - bad for the society
    - where is my second amendment demonstrator !

  • by abalacha ( 56157 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:17AM (#43971527) Journal

    Opinion poll can be easily be 'lead' into a specific conclusion.

  • by Knightman ( 142928 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:19AM (#43971539)

    You can strongly influence the result of questionnaire by using leading questions.

    For example:
    o Do you believe it's OK for the government to track and monitor private citizens email and phone calls so they can fight terrorism?
    o Do you believe it's OK for the government to track and monitor private citizens email and phone calls?

    The general population has been more or less brainwashed to give up their rights as soon as the phrase "fight terrorism" or "war on terror" is used.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:19AM (#43971543)

    Know nothing of history.

  • I was shocked... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by belgo ( 72693 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:19AM (#43971545) Homepage

    ... the first time someone commented re: PRISM and other NSA directives, along the lines of, "Whatever, as long as it prevents another 9/11!" Now that it's been a few more days, I'm starting to break the habit of facepalming. We as a nation are affirming our commitment to the implementation of a police state, in the name of preventing something that was already about as statistically impossible as getting hit by lightning while claiming your Powerball jackpot.

    Inasmuch as this is the will of the majority and of the representatives in our Republic, you can bet I'll be claiming my winnings from within the safe confines of an OSHA-approved rubber suit.

  • by fredrated ( 639554 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:20AM (#43971553) Journal

    Fer christ sake, more people die from nose hair complications than terrorism, what have we come to?

  • by Aqualung812 ( 959532 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:20AM (#43971559)

    Most people fear things that are very unlikely to happen:
    -Death from terrorism
    -Death from oppressive government

    We rant and shout with each other over which one is the bigger threat.

    Meanwhile, most of us die from lack of proper personal health (diet, exercise, etc) or automobile wrecks, all of which are 100% within our ability to control.

  • by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:21AM (#43971567)

    Just calling to see how that new-fangled "liberty" thing is working out for you?

    Oh, you don't give a shit anymore?

  • I call BS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phoenix666 ( 184391 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:28AM (#43971657)

    The government has been running a full-court press on the media and everyone else to get them to shut up and get in line. Yesterday there was a poll saying the exact opposite, like 59% saying the opposite across the partisan divide, and now magically it's the other way. I've been monitoring the blogs Left & Right and even Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are tamping down since calling it a "coup d'etat" last week.

    The government is scared at how nonpartisan the outrage has been. The Whitehouse and Congress are complicit in this all-out assault on the Constitution and the American Republic. They know that if they can cow the American people into swallowing this that they will then have carte blanche. But whether the people do swallow this or not, things go rapidly downhill from here.

    And note, which party is in office is totally irrelevant here. The Republicans and Democrats have both been in on it.

    I hug my family very close these days, because it's about to get very ugly and we all could lose everything.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:30AM (#43971669) Homepage Journal

    It's official then, it's not the land of the free anymore. Because if you don't want your freedom, you don't deserve it.

    Oppressed people at least know that things should be different. They might lack the resources or resolve to fight the system right here and now, but they know things aren't right and just might stand up any moment.

    The US, on the other hand - and to be honest, lots of the west - has become the worst kind of oppressive system, worse than 1984. The kind where the oppressed believe the lies they are told. Russians knew that Prawda wasn't telling them the truth. Way too many americans believe Fox does.

  • Congratulations! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by no-body ( 127863 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:35AM (#43971701)
    Mission accomplished - brainwashing succeded.
  • by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:37AM (#43971717)

    Well, did it?

    • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:19AM (#43972235)

      Well, did it?

      If you'll recall, several much lower-tech warning signs were already there, even without having to snoop personally into the lives of everyone on the planet.

      And they dropped the ball anyway.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:45AM (#43971807)

    It's rare that I quote a famous figure, as so often it's cliche to the point of deserving a cluebat-induced coma. However, I think this quote from Sam Adams accurately describes the state of America (better than the famous Franklin quote so often cited here) and how so many would sacrifice their rights to ensure their happy consumerist lifestyles:

    “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:51AM (#43971879)
    When it comes to rights, you can't use public opinion polls. The Bill of Rights is designed to protect the minority from the majority. Phone tracking is not a threat to most people. The government has no reason to be concerned with them. But the few who are a concern have the right to live their lives without unnecessary oversight from the government.
  • by kaizendojo ( 956951 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:52AM (#43971893)
    That's why the number for online tracking is less popular.
  • by fonske ( 1224340 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:54AM (#43971909)
    This is the headtitle of some European editorials.
    For the younger people: Stasi (Staatssicherheit) archived "information" on *everybody* in former DDR.
    1 on 50 in former DDR was linked to Stasi as one of 90000 employees or 200000 informants.
  • Poll taker (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jitterman ( 987991 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:57AM (#43971959)
    I was one of those who was surveyed. I am happy to report that in this case I was one of the minority - in fact, I'd say this level of invasion is akin to terrorism itself, in that many are terrified that this egregious act of domestic espionage is only the tip of a very large iceberg.
  • by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:15AM (#43972169)
    Another question that should have been asked in this poll: Are you aware that 9/11 could have been prevented if FBI headquarters had simply paid attention to reports from their field offices, and no dragnet monitoring would have been needed?
    • by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @11:08AM (#43973705) Homepage

      And followed by "Are you aware that the Russians called both the FBI and CIA to inform them the Boston terrorist was a threat. And both times regardless of the Russians concern, the U.S. agencies failed to conduct a thorough investigation.

      Here is my proof, why Americans should basically burn PRISM to the ground.


      FBI/CIA informed of a signficant potential threat. But apparently cannot be bothered to track or monitor threat. But want threat as an excuse to monitor EVERYONE in the U.S.

  • Worded all wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:27AM (#43972347)

    I'm reading these questions and they are completely misleading:

    "Should the government be able to monitor emails if it prevents future terrorist attacks?"

    How much more misleading could it get? At the very least it should read:

    "Should the government be able to read YOUR emails in an attempt to find terrorist activity?"

    or better yet:

    "Would you give up your constitutional rights and the rights of your children and grandchildren to change your chances of dieing in terrorist attack from 1 in 20 million to 1 in 20.1 million?"

  • by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:28AM (#43972351)

    These people are just not thinking through the issue. If you asked the question, "Should the president be given the power to track all of the phone calls of his political rivals?" you would get a different response from these people. Yet, that is precisely the power that the president wields now that this program is in place.

  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:28AM (#43972359) Homepage

    I thought I'd never type the above words, but on this morning's Today Show, Bill O'Reilly was on and talking about Snowden and the NSA spying. He said that if Snowden is right and the NSA is spying on everyone then Snowden is a hero and the NSA is wrong. If Snowden is lying, then, then what he did was very wrong. O'Reilly went on to say that it is not acceptable to spy on everyone just to catch a few terrorists (if this is even effective... there's no transparency at all so we don't know) and there should be measures in place to ensure that they only collect data on people they need to spy on (e.g. suspects).

    Do you see what you've done, Obama and NSA? You've got me agreeing with Bill O'Reilly! Surely, this is one of the signs of the apocalypse!

    (In all seriousness, I'm sure O'Reilly supported programs like this under Bush and is only opposed to them now because Obama's doing it. I'm also sure that, had I listened to the interview a bit more I'd have disagreed with him on something - or he toned down his rhetoric for the Today Show audience. Still agreeing with him for as long as I did was scary.)

  • by The Cat ( 19816 ) * on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:41AM (#43972533)

    There's no America left to defend.

  • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:53AM (#43972681) Homepage Journal
    PRISM affects far more than just americans. Of course, as they don't vote (not that americans vote mean or will accomplish anything, unless they are called Lester []), they will act. That should give with time a big push to foreing search engines, social networks and open source software (specially mobile one)
  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:03AM (#43972843)

    This type of snooping is only practiced in states like the 3rd Reich, the DDR and Northern Korea. US Americans seems to be unaware what extreme risks come with it.

    Also, this does not help against terrorism at all. No, not one bit.

  • by Goboxer ( 1821502 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:06AM (#43972893)

    ACLU Petition to Stop Massive Government Spying Program []

    Please sign that petition. Or Write your Representative [] or Write your Senators []. They are easy enough to find []. Seriously. If you aren't telling the people that represent you how wrong, awful, and downright unacceptable the NSA actions are they have no reason to stick their neck out to change it.

    Nobody is asking you to fight a war, like previous generations of Americans have. Just sign a petition. Write a letter. It is that easy to improve this country. Whether you think that is true or not, remember that an outcry from a small group of people have altered politics before and it can happen again. The only thing preventing this country from getting better is silence.

  • Doublethink (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:31AM (#43973239) Homepage Journal

    "We must sacrifice our freedoms, in order to secure our freedoms."

  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:33AM (#43973261)

    Maybe they should first define terrorism before polling people about tracking phone use to prevent it. Terrorism used to be things like blowing up subways or flying planes into buildings for a political purpose. Now it has been expanded to all sorts of domestic violence (meaning on our homeland, not in our homes), to get around things like existing laws on surveillance, wiretapping, etc. Just like the RICO laws have been abused by using them against other groups than organized crime, so have the terrorism laws.

    Another issue is how are the questions phrased? If asked if tracking people's phone use to prevent another 9/11 is okay, you will probably get a different response than asked if it is okay for the government to monitor your phone conversations to make sure you are not a terrorist. The first is in regards to generic people out there. The second is about you, yourself and implies if you don't have anything to hide, you don't have anything to worry about. But that isn't a sign of a free people, but instead a controlled people.

    It was James Madison who said "I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."

  • by bengoerz ( 581218 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:50AM (#43973447)
    From TFA:
    The analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted June 6-9, 2013, among a national sample of 1,004 adults 18 years of age or older living in the continental United States (501 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 503 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 247 who had no landline telephone).

    Is it really reasonable to survey the public's opinion of telephone spying via telephone?
  • Anonymous eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Almost-Retired ( 637760 ) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @11:28AM (#43973989) Homepage

    Anonymous my ass, this was planted by some government drone specifically to make the justifiably worried sheeple think its ok.

    Well, this is one of those sheeple who doesn't think its ok. Not on this planet,not even in this universe.

    When our, and other governments are carrying on such activities in the name of safety, go back to a traitor named Benjamin Franklin, who once said that those who would give up a little liberty for safety, will have neither. Ben wasn't exactly a dummy. As for the traitor part, I expect the King of England considered him a traitor, to be hung where ever he could be found. So were a lot of the other names on our Declaration of Independence.

    We have already apparently given up, because it seemed convenient and less hassle to the sheeple to let it happen than to go find somebody (or be that somebody) who would actually do something about what has become in my lifetime, a nearly complete dictatorship simply because it was too much trouble to call the trouble makers out and remove them from public office by whatever means that reduced them to standing on the corner shouting about some subject they aren't qualified to pronounce. If they still sucked air enough to do that.

    We now have all these 3 letter agencies that don't have to answer to anybody, not even the president, costing us untold billions, even trillions in productivity interference of the public at large, each justifying their existence on selling this magic thing called safety.

    What has this so-called safety got us? Because we are disarmed for the most part (in the name of safety of course), we get the Columbines and Sandy Hook scenes simply because somebody who needed to be contained or stopped long before their thinking became that errant, wasn't stopped with a busted butt or nose when it would have done some good, but today some idiots can't be stopped until they actually DO something, at which point its too late.

    I can imagine that 100 years ago, these similar personalities likely would have not made it past their first drink in a bar as they would have been 'educated' right then and there by somebody who did know the difference between right and wrong. But we can't do that today because we'd spend 20 to life in a lock-up for removing such a person from the gene pool before he/she went on a rampage, taking 10 + other lives before somebody decides its time to stop them by whatever means is hanging on the belt, or on the back window gun rack of the pick-up truck.

    As for the terrorists, lets all agree that the 2nd amendment says exactly what it says. And let nature take its course, get the law the hell out of judging who's right or wrong in such cases. I'll help them meet those 72 Virginians they are so hell bent on meeting, its absolutely not a problem to me.

    So lets hear it from those who do give a shit about freedoms. Pew Research indeed. Figures lie, and liars figure out the stats they way they want them to be, every time. And I think this is one of those times.

  • by fishnuts ( 414425 ) <> on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @12:05PM (#43974543) Homepage

    Everyone who hates the US is loving this news, just like they cheered when they heard we all have to take off our shoes and have our nuts inspected at airports.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein