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Party Affiliation Taints Americansí Views On Privacy, Civil Liberty

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Unread 06.12.13, 05:10 AM
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Party Affiliation Taints Americansí Views On Privacy, Civil Liberty

06.11.13 09:01 PM

A poll released Monday shows more than half of all Americans think itís acceptable for the government to secretly track their phone calls, if doing so keeps them safe from terrorism.

The poll, done by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, also shows that nearly half believe itís also acceptable for the National Security Administration (NSA) to indiscriminately spy on citizensí online activities using secret dragnets like PRISM — so long as it stands a chance of preventing domestic terrorist attacks.

Interestingly, the poll also showed that opinions about the Presidentís role in orchestrating warrantless spying on American citizens vary among Democrats and Republicans to favor whichever party holds power in the executive branch.

In other words, more Democrats think the NSAís doing the Lordís work right now, because a Democrat is in the White House. Back in 2006, when the President was a Republican, Democrats hated NSA surveillance. The reverse, of course, holds true for Republicans, more of whom are now outraged by the PRISM scandal than by any NSA revelations or expansion that occurred during the Presidency of George W. Bush.

Youth apathy over the governmentís sophisticated surveillance of the very technologies that young people consume en masse is, perhaps, the pollís most jarring find. While a greater number of young people (though still fewer than half) take a principled stand in support of privacy than do the other age groups surveyed, they arenít that interested in following specific news about PRISM, the NSAís secret data mining of Verizon customers or the draconian Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.

ďAs with most news stories, interest is far higher among older Americans than the young: one-in-three (33%) Americans ages 50-and-older are following news about the government tracking phone records very closely,Ē the poll states. ďAmong those ages 18-29, just 12% are following very closely, while 56% say they are not following closely at all.Ē

Taken together, the poll means that more than half of Americans are fine with Verizonís setting up of a secret, dedicated fiber-optic line — one that runs from New Jersey straight to a military base at Quantico, Va., and allows the government access ďto all communications flowing through the carrierís operations center,Ē according to The New York Times.

So long as their partyís in control of the White House, Republicans or Democrats mostly view the President as a trustworthy custodian of such extraConstitutional powers.

And if those Americans are under the age of 30, most of them just donít care.

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