A new Pew Research poll has just come out and, sadly, it reveals that a majority of Americans find the NSA phone tacking system, known as PRISM, is okay with them as long as it’s for fighting terrorism. What many privacy advocates fear is true. Americans are too happy to give up their privacy in exchange for some perceived safety from terrorism.
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.
For these 62%, the revelations of last week mean nothing. They don’t care if their every movement in life is tracked, recorded, and stored. They bought the lies from the government and are willing to stick with it.
One interesting, and possible huge clue is how the support varies.
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.
It is interesting that those who are following the reports, reading and learning what they entail, are more likely to not support what the government has been doing. Then again, 62% of Americans can’t even pass the official US Citizen test given to foreigners who wish to become citizens. Should we be so surprised that they are happy to give up their freedoms for a little bit of perceived safety?