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Americans Not Bothered by NSA Spying

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the getting-the-government-they-deserve dept.

1322

Snap E Tom writes "According to a Washington Post poll, a majority (63%) of Americans 'said they found the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate terrorism.' A slightly higher majority would not be bothered if the NSA collected personal calls that they made. Even though the program has received bi-partisan criticism from Congress, it appears that the public values security over privacy."

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1322 comments

Done by Phone? (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317188)

Let me guess, these polls were done by phone?

Washington Post: Hello, do you have a minute to take a survey?
Citizen: Of course I do!
Washington Post: Great! We were just wondering whether you're concerned with the recent news of the NSA?
Citizen: You mean the fact that they are collecting the phone call records made and recieved by each citizen of the United States?
Washington Post: Yes, probably even this very phone call right now ... how do you feel about that?
Citizen: I'm fuckin' pissed!
Washington Post: So you're conncerned? You know, on our last poll about the NSA, the one where we covered them routing and recording phone calls [dailykos.com] , people sure answered differently.
Citizen: Wait a second ... you mean they can record transcripts of phone calls?
Washington Post: Yes, probably even this very phone call right now ... we do use AT&T.
Citizen: Ah, I've changed my mine. I am completely fine with this acceptable form of combating terrorism. Sic Heil Bush & all that jazz. I love my country and would sacrifice every bit of privacy for it. Goodbye!

Yes, it was (5, Informative)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317229)

From: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/poll s/postpoll_nsa_051206.htm [washingtonpost.com] :

This Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted by telephone May 11, 2006 among 502 randomly selected adults.

Re:Yes, it was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317367)

Article forgot to finish that statement

This Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted by telephone May 11, 2006 among 502 randomly selected adults from a list of NSA empoloyees and their families.

Re:Done by Phone? (1, Flamebait)

Tuffsnake (767507) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317285)

Shouldn't it go more like: Washington Post: Hello, do you have a minute to take a survey?
Citizen: Of course I do!
Washington Post: Great! We were just wondering whether you're concerned with the recent news of the NSA?
Citizen: What news?
*click*
Washington Post: Another call with no objections!

Re:Done by Phone? (5, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317328)

Let me guess, these polls were done by phone?

No, they used a Diebold AccuVote-TSX touch screen system...

Sic? (1, Troll)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317404)

Sic Heil Bush

It's "Sieg Heil"... *sigh*

security over privacy (5, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317189)

it appears that the public values security over privacy

Then they'll have neither.

Re:security over privacy (2, Insightful)

kefkahax (915895) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317208)

It seems that American's are, indeed, no longer anything like their forefathers that they speak so highly of.

Re:security over privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317281)

Phones are NOT secure by design unlike encrypted VPN connections.
 

Re:security over privacy (1)

Mattcelt (454751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317336)

That's true. But Liberty is supposed to be secure by design, and that's what's frightening about all this.

Re:security over privacy (2, Funny)

Mr Pippin (659094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317384)

Meanwhile...
"A Four-alarm fire in Downtown Moscow clears way for a glorious new tractor factory. ..."

Yay! For the USA! (4, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317192)

Re:Yay! For the USA! (-1, Troll)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317237)

because franklin is always right!

But seriously, what is the point of privacy (and if this is true, they are just collecting anonymous data) if you are dead. I think most people see stuff like what happened in London and the cartoon riots and realize the alternative is much worse.

Re:Yay! For the USA! (5, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317357)

what is the point of privacy [...] if you are dead.

Well, I think that Franklin implied something in that statement: you have to be willing to die to protect your freedoms. Don't forget he signed the declaration of independence and that was essentially the same as signing his own death warrant. After all, it made him essentially a traitor to the power-in-place at that moment.
His quote has to be seen in that context. These days nobody seems to want to die for freedom anymore and hence the freedom is taken away piecemeal...

Look, I'm not even American, but I do think I understand the historical context. I think that Benjamin Franklin was indeed a wise man and I am only a pinko-commie-euro-bastard.

Re:Yay! For the USA! (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317382)

You sir, an idiot and I'm proud to have you on my freaks list.

Re:Yay! For the USA! (2, Insightful)

Tet (2721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317410)

I think most people see stuff like what happened in London and the cartoon riots and realize the alternative is much worse.

Actually, no (and I say that as a Londoner, having personally experienced multiple terrorist bombs). No amount of spying on the general public will allow the government to wipe out terrorism. Yes, perhaps it will reduce it. Slightly. But I can assure you that the price for that reduction is too high.

Untapped power source? (5, Funny)

Myrrh (53301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317349)

I've come up with a way to reduce—perhaps even eliminate—our dependence on foreign oil as an energy source.

As more and more civil liberties are trampled upon, faster and faster will the Founding Fathers spin in their respective graves.

If we attach magnets to each Founding Father, then wrap copper wire around each of them, we should have a potentially unlimited energy source. Well, at least until the Libertarians get elected in significant numbers—so yeah, come to think of it, it truly is unlimited.

The AC frequency, of course, might be unpredictable. In fact, I'd suspect it will be ever-increasing, which could create some technical issues to overcome. But we're smart people, I'm sure we can figure it out.

What do you all say? Shall we write up a grant proposal?

Nah! (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317383)

What do you all say? Shall we write up a grant proposal?

Just patent it... You'll be fine.

I thought of including that theory in my post, but I didn't want it to be even more lame than it already is ;-)

Re:Untapped power source? (1)

lucky130 (267588) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317386)

Man, if you're going to use a Dilbert (the TV show) joke, at least retain the elegant simplicity :).

"Spinning you say? We'll attach magnets to them [or, in this case, him] and generate electricity if it makes you feel any better!"

Re:Yay! For the USA! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317368)

Franklin also said "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." [ushistory.org]

Re:Yay! For the USA! (2, Funny)

mike77 (519751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317370)

Benjamin Franklin must be spinning in his grave...
If we could somehow harness this perpetual spinning motion of the founding fathers we could probably power america for centuries to come! Thus weakining our dependence on foreign oil, and dealing a blow to teh terr'sts! Let the attack on personal liberties continue!!!

So you don't have to wait to load the link... (5, Informative)

cybercobra (856248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317388)

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Benjamin Franklin

When you don't teach people about the importance of civil liberties, it's no wonder they don't defend them. Bring back civics classes!

department listing says it all (2, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317194)

from the getting-the-government-they-deserve dept.

Nuff said.

Re:department listing says it all (1)

collectivescott (885118) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317223)

Its sad but true. I bet the Bush Administration tested the reaction in focus groups first. God damn soccer moms and dads.

Re:department listing says it all (1)

stevew (4845) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317280)

Naah - that was Clinton that always worried about polls. For God Sakes - if Bush worried about polls, 29% approval would have him spinning in his office. He doesn't seem to pay much heed to the results of same.

Re:department listing says it all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317292)

Yup. Good old US of A.

Re:department listing says it all (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317278)

I'm proud of Zonk for seeing the issue crystal clearly.

Now, if he could do that with dupes too, please? :)

The problem is... (2, Interesting)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317317)

...us getting the government they deserve.

Re:The problem is... (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317354)

When's the Pacific Northwest going to secede? I may need to head out that way again sometime soon...

Obligatory Ben Franklin Quote (-1, Redundant)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317201)

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Re:Obligatory Ben Franklin Quote (1)

bconway (63464) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317373)

Can you site in the Constitution or the Bill of Right where it states that the list of people you call on your phone is an essential liberty?

It's not an OK/Not OK question... (2, Insightful)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317203)

It depends on how the data is handled and stored, who gets to analyze it, how long it's kept, where else it can be used, etc., etc., etc. And it depends on whether it is legal or not.

It's might be OK for the NSA to use who you call to establish close ties to a terrorist.

It's not OK for the current conservative White House to use your phone contacts to estimate your opinion of the current energy policy.

It's not OK for Homeland Security to use your phone contacts to require extra screening at airports because you work with legitimate exporters in the middle east.

It's not OK for the RIAA to gain access (via the FBI?) to your phone contacts to use for guilty by association accusations in their ridiculous lawsuits.

Bottom line, do you trust this Presidency to stay within the law governing privacy, search and seizure, and due process? At this point, the current administration has basically said (without using so many words) that they are above the law. However, as an American citizen, I can very definitely say they are NOT above the law. This country is a country ruled by law and there is nothing short of a coup that the president can do about it. In fact, according to the law, if the President acts outside of the law, he (by law) would no longer have presidential authority. It's about time our elected officials learned how to stand up to the White House. Terrorism or no terrorism, the United States of American is first and foremost a country ruled by law, not by men.

Re:It's not an OK/Not OK question... (5, Insightful)

GroinWeasel (970787) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317236)

"It's might be OK for the NSA to use who you call to establish close ties to a terrorist."

You just said its OK for the government to consider ALL CITIZENS as potential terrorists AT ALL TIMES.

Are you SURE thats "might be OK"?

You just threw presumprion of innocence out the window, without even realising what you did, didn't you?

Re:It's not an OK/Not OK question... (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317305)

Might be, if it's legal. But the only way to tell is to have Congress oversight on the whole domestic spying issue. However, Glorious Leader says it doesn't matter what Congress says. Glorious Leader is wrong. Congress needs to step up.

Re:It's not an OK/Not OK question... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317346)

If you can pass a law successfully then its "right"?

Are you seriously incapable of making up your own mind about whether this is right or wrong? You need congress to do your thinking for you?

I despair of americans, the sooner your empire crumbles the better.

Re:It's not an OK/Not OK question... (4, Interesting)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317355)


At this point, the current administration has basically said (without using so many words) that they are above the law.

I agree with your entire post except the part above within the parentheses. Since taking office in 2001, President Bush has issued signing statements [boston.com] on more than 750 new laws, declaring that he has the power to set aside the laws when they conflict with his legal interpretation of the Constitution.

This is by very definition holding yourself 'above the law'.

as the saying goes.. (1, Troll)

Abstract_Me (799786) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317204)

Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.

        -Thomas Jefferson

Phonesex (5, Funny)

WebfishUK (249858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317206)

...A slightly higher majority would not be bothered if the NSA collected personal calls that they made...

Just so long as they spoke dirty and pretended to be a girl

"Hi my name is Agent Sexbitch and I'm not wearing my regulation black suit. I'm a naughty agent...."

Well... (2, Funny)

flynt (248848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317210)

Knowing that their answers may be monitored, what do you think they'd say? These, after all, were done over the phone.

Of course. (4, Insightful)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317214)

We're talking about Americans here. They're much better at rhetoric about how great and free they are than actually getting upset when their leaders turn out to be blatantly trampling rights enshrined in the constitution.

Re:Of course. (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317325)

The answer I'm interested in is, do they actually realise what's going on and just cannot be bothered to do something about it, or they don't even realise it and are comforting themselves in the managed news they hear from the mainstream media?

Re:Of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317333)

Can you point out where in the Constitution that it prohibits the recording of calls that were made? The actual conversations are NOT being recorded and stored. It simply makes a record that Joe Blow called Muhammed Ihateamericans on a certain date.

This has been legal for the Federal Government to do this for a long time. In fact, such things have been taking place for decades.

By the way, what country do you live in? Shall we talk about your glass house?

Re:Of course. (2, Funny)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317413)

By the way, what country do you live in? Shall we talk about your glass house?

If I say "Swtizerland", will you bake me a cake?

Re:Of course. (1)

Observer2001 (447571) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317362)

Rights enshrined in the Constitution do not include the privacy of your phone records. (I'm talking about records of the numbers to/from which calls were made, not the content of the calls.) If you don't believe me, see what the U.S. Supreme Court had to say in Smith v. Maryland [findlaw.com] .

That is because (1)

Ian McBeth (862517) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317231)

Most of us know what they are actually recording vs what the Tv types want you to think they are recording.

What they record: Who called who and when.

What they don't get to record: The Actual Content of our Conversations.

If your going to get upset about it, you should really be upset with the Phone companies for
1)Keeping Such Records in the First Place.
2)Sharing it without Warrants.

So? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317234)

Why are stories like this a surprise? The American people, by and large, are perfectly happy with their new totalitarian fascist state.

Those who really value freedom and democracy would be best served by leaving the damned place so we can see those who remain for the festering boil on humanity's behind that they truly are.

security??? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317238)

it appears that the public values security over privacy

How do they come to the conclusion that spying is equivalent to security? Allowing assumptions like this to slip into one's language create the way towards further invasions of basic rights.

Three things: (3, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317242)


  1. The poll questions say absolutely nothing about the current illegality of this sort of data-mining on U.S. citizens.
  2. The second to last question from the poll:
    46. If you found out that the NSA had a record of phone numbers that you yourself have called, would that bother you, or not? IF YES: Would it bother you a lot, or just somewhat?

    -----------Yes------------
    NET A lot Somewhat No No opin.
    34 24 10 66 *


  3. The last question from the poll (emphasis mine):
    47. Do you think it is right or wrong for the news media to have disclosed this secret government program?

    Right Wrong No opin.
    56 42 1


What security? (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317244)

Randomly snatching up people from the streets and interrogating them would give more security than this!

Where is the hard data that secretly/unconstitutionally violating a whole nation's rights would have any positive effects? If anything the whole thing just encourages rogue groups serving their own interests to exploit everything they can and without being accountable to anyone. There is a reason we have (had) privacy and it's not because the state is so kind to us, but because in the long run, it makes economic sense! So basically by allowing this, people are causing at the very least damage to the economy so to everyone in the USA.

Re:What security? (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317279)


Randomly snatching up people from the streets and interrogating them would give more security than this!

Don't encourage them. Under the Patriot Act II, they have the legal right to do just that.

Sheep! (1)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317247)

Baa!

Duh. disconnect is real and ignored (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317248)

Tell me how many other recent events haven't shown the disconnect between those who preach and preen in Washington and the population at large?

Immigration reform almost plays identically, the people want action and the politicians want face time.

I am not surprised at the poll numbers. Simple reason really, Americans on a whole don't really care about much unless its affecting them directly. This apathy if you will call it that is part of the built up "immune" system most develop to deal with the world around them.

What is becoming more evident to many of us is just how disconnected Washington DC politicians are from those of us who put them there. Those twits are more interested into playing to the cameras than doing what we want. Worse, they have the gall to ignore us and then wonder why we don't want them back?

when voting sometimes I think the (I) next to the name should indicate who to vote against this year.

Re:Duh. disconnect is real and ignored (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317390)

I'm thinking (I), (R), or (D) next to the name indicates who to vote against this year.

Every Incumbent, every Republican, and every Democrat has failed us. Time to try something new. Just not sure what.

Played around with being a Libertarian for a while, but that's not really what I want.

What I'd like to find is a party of the middle class. Which class is that?

Republicans seem to be the party of the rich, Democrats seem to be the party of the poor.

Who is looking out for all us middle class citizens? I'll join that party. But I don't know if such a thing exists.

What about Pre-paid? (1)

wiz31337 (154231) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317252)

All privacy issues aside, what good does it do to monitor every phone call if the bad guys are using pre-paid cell phones? Something tells me that a majority of bad guys are not signing up for cell phone contracts to conspire against the government.

Say the government does note a phone call made from a prepaid phone that happens to be conspiring, at the end of the call (or several) the bad guy will just throw away that phone and get another.

So is tracking every single call really doing anything to benefit national security?

Newsflash: 2007 (1)

VAXGeek (3443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317253)

Coming soon to a country near you:

"According to a Washington Post poll, a majority (63%) of Americans 'said they found the daily anal cavity searches to be an acceptable way to investigate terrorism.' A slightly higher majority would not be bothered if the NSA collected samples from their anal cavity. Even though the program has received bi-partisan criticism from Congress, it appears that the public values security over privacy."

another quote (4, Funny)

flynt (248848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317263)

Those who attempt to gain karma by trying to summarize a complex issue with a one-line quote will have have done neither.

and another quote (1)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317363)

"Those who attempt to gain karma by trying to summarize a complex issue with a one-line quote will have have done neither."

--flynt (248848)

I propose a new law: (4, Funny)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317266)

Anyone who utters the words: "If you've done nothing wrong, then what are you afraid of?" should immediately be put on the no-fly list.

The Rest (1)

thelonestranger (915343) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317267)

And the other 37% were put straight onto the NSA potential terrorist list.

In other news... (5, Funny)

sparkz (146432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317271)

In other news, a survey found that the majority of Americans don't understand why the rest of the world view them as dumb, mindless sheep.

I suspect the validity of this poll (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317274)

I find this poll suspect - it CERTAINLY has a sampling bias error for starters

where were these people, what was their demographic, did they include cell phone users, etc

This is really getting old (5, Insightful)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317275)

Scaring Americans into giving up their privacy is really getting old. A large scale terrorism attack is still very much possible today. Mistake after mistake has shown this. It's a dog and pony show. The presentation has changed, but gaping holes still exist. Amercians somehow believe losing their rights is helping terrorism, but in reality its not. Before 9/11 terrorism was almost non-existant in America. After 9/11 it's almost non-existant. Looking at raw numbers, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of things you should be more worried about killing you than a terrorist. Statistically I'd be more worried about being killed by a shark in the US.

And I can't believe people are actually fooled into thinking somehow terrorism is a major threat. If you want to save the most amount of lives with the least amount of effort, fight obesity. It accounts for most of the top killers in America today.

But obesity isn't patriotic. You can't hang a flag outside your house supporting the war on fat.

Get a fucking clue people. Terrorism isn't a threat to your daily lives. If you actually think it is, then you've been emotionally manipulated by people who want your money and/or votes.

Re:This is really getting old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317326)

Thank god you are here today to instruct us all.

New Study... (1)

BoredWolf (965951) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317277)

shows that 83% of all statistics are made-up on the spot

6 degrees of Bin laden? (5, Insightful)

ghostlibrary (450718) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317284)

Okay, the NSA is just making correlations between calls. However, if any actor can be tied to Kevin Bacon in 6 steps, and any person to the President in 6 steps, doesn't this mean the NSA can tie any phone user to a terrorist at will in 6 steps or less?

"I called my auto mechanic, who called a customer, who once called a lawyer friend, who represented a terrorist. So now I'm flagged as 'communicating with a terrorist'".

Worse, the only way to weed out such 'spurious connections' is, of course, to get more detailed records of exactly who was called, and why, and what was said. So the concept is inherently flawed and can only be fixed by further privacy violations.

The Onion? (1)

Burianski11 (554142) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317286)

Did anybody else think they were reading an Onion [theonion.com] article?

Apparently not the Slashdot crowd (1)

Myrrh (53301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317288)

Who are they polling? Joe Sixpack? Why does it seem I am so consistently diametrically opposed, opinion-wise, to the "average" American? ...

In a separate poll, 99.9998% (margin of error, 0.5%) of Slashdotters said the NSA has no business monitoring domestic telephone conversations in any way, "terrorism" or no.

just another spying excuse (1)

necromcr (836137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317289)

in reality this poll was just a means to see who's hiding something. whoever's got nothing to hide answered pro data collection, everyone else WILL be looked at.

.. in my opinion that is.

Culture of Myspace (1)

Sean0michael (923458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317296)

I'm really not surprised. With people going online not only to post their own information on lots of websites like Myspace, Facebook, eHarmony, and other social networks, but also generally looking for other people's personal information online as well, we just generally have less concern over privacy. People post blogs about the most intimate parts of their lives and think nothing of it. Others read those blogs, watch and post private videos, view and post possibly inciminating photos. People just generally care less about privacy today.

But they do care a lot about security. It's not just a culture of terrorism, but it is a big push today everywhere. It's more of a culture of fear that society perpetuates on itself. I recommend reading Corey Robin's Fear [cjsonline.ca] for more about this.

I am all for Representative Governement (1)

pagen (52961) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317300)

But not when the public is to afraid to respond with forethought! Sometimes, we need the age of our Senators to play its very real and calculated role and tell everyone the dangers of "guilty until proven innocent." Per Ben they may deserve neither security or freedom, but we still must tell the public loudly and frequently why we must check this encrouchment of our liberty for fear of where it may take us.

Perhaps X-Men 3 could play a role in this discussion?

PaGeN

take them by the hand (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317301)

This is a very new story. People's ultimate reaction to it will depend a lot on the way the media covers the story, and whether they even bother to cover it. If they cover domestic spying the same way they did the run up to the War in Iraq, of course, nobody will care, because they will all have been lied to and misled. On the other hand, if the media raises the point that there's a legal way for the government to do this, but for some reason they don't want to do it legally, and then go on to describe the fact that the special terrorist-fighting judges that have been 99.9% supportive of the Administration's efforts to fight terrorism are being purposely kept out of the loop because the President and his men don't want anybody to know what they're really doing, well then, that's a different story. Then again, it may be too late for op-ed columns and political blogs to have any effect. When the Administration stops even bothering to keep up the appearance of responsible leadership, we have definitely entered "V for Vendetta" territory. It might be that only massive numbers of people in the streets is the only way for America to stay free.

Luckily law is not made by popular opinion... (1)

corvi42 (235814) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317308)

... and therefore it really doesn't matter what the majority thinks. Sure, there is a strong influence of public opinion on the creation of new laws, but basic rights are protected against the tyranny (or apathy) of the majority.

Confims My Long Held Opinion (1)

fumanchu32 (671324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317309)

2/3 of x population is stupid/ignorant. Holds true where I work, seems to hold true in this poll, my friends, family...

deported (3, Funny)

fusto99 (939313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317310)

Of that 63%, 50% were promised that they would not be deported if they answered yes.

more same (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317312)

So just use some kind of encryption [navastream.com]

What about regular crime? (5, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317314)

As we all know "terrorism" is the root password to the Constitution. This question asks only about terrorism. I wonder what their answers would be if the question was:

"Do you find the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate drug use?"

or

"Do you find the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate copyright infringment?"

We all know these programs will not be used for only terrorism, but for everyday crimes. Will people care then?

Americans are weak (1)

slizz (822222) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317315)

Americans pride themselves (ourselves) as being strong and tough. The reality is that our country would not be in the state it is in if Americans weren't so utterly terrified of terrorism. Is it terrifying? Yes. But that's what toughness is - standing up to something that scares you. I thought the Republicans were supposed to be gun toting crazy fucks who prowl the borders searching for terrorists to chase with assault rifles. Instead it seems the party now stands for giving up personal freedom to hide from the terrorists behind a wall of helplessness. C'mon, you need to pick one, having guns, or having the government watch and protect you like your mother. You don't get both. Then again, I guess if the government only illegally detains arab citizens it's not so bad. Sigh...

Sampling error? (1)

loupgarou21 (597877) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317316)

They only polled 502 people and did it all in one night. It seems like that would lend itself to sampling errors.

What is the difference between Qwest and NSA ? (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317318)

Corporations already have this info. Corporations run this country.

Hell, Exxon declared war on Iraq.

Unfortunately not surprising (1)

bobalu (1921) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317324)

A couple of years ago I brought the data mining crap up with the guys at the bar, and they all did the "If you didn't do anything wrong" bit.

They they got on the phone to their coke dealers and made some sports bets.

Duh.

Correction (5, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317331)

Americans who have given up on caring about anything truthful being discussed in today's world are not bothered by NSA spying.

Seriously, if the NSA will not give security clearances (thereby stopping the investigation) to the Federal Prosecutors trying to investigate this alleged spying on Americans, does the US actually have ANY checks and balances on uncontrolled power?

More importantly, does anyone even care?

Yes, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317337)

They should care about what the usa patriot act did; basically said that any information that was gather in the persuit of terrorists could be handed over to doj (and others) for their use; the patriot act that so many have been busy defending turned the FBI into the KGB. And yet, the same group will continue to defend it and not notice the fact that a number of interesting breaks have occured recently. Has anybody been paying attention to the news about how certain mafia has been caught, or coast to coast gangs have been stopped, or how karl rove KNEW so much about the democrats, or ....

And yet, what do you bet that the democrats do not notice all this; or go along with the quieting of sibel edmunds just because a few dems will also be caught in the net.

USSA is now here.

And the Washington Posts's demographics are? (2, Interesting)

Alpha27 (211269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317345)

They are not all of Americans. They are those Americans who read their paper. Come on seriously now. 63% is a high number of people who would agree to this. I see this number being more representative of higher-middle class conservative individuals.

Collection leads to abuse? (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317353)

AFAICS, the worry is that data collection will automatically lead to abuse. Something like Pizza. [aclu.org]

OK. But do we have a right to use anonymity/privacy to hide wrongdoings? At the time of the founding of the Republic and drafting the US Constitution, the world was a very different place. People knew each other, and would watch strangers. We now have mechanized mobility and electronic communications. Shouldn't monitoring be similarly enabled to preserve balance?

Clearly abuses must be avoided. But at what cost? Aren't there better ways (like "Fruit of the Poisoned Vine") to stop abuse without unduly impairing activity? Aren't the police & government "innocent until proiven guilty" too?

...and... Queue the Prejudice! (1)

Evil Closet Monkey (761299) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317356)

Queue all the prejudice U.S.A. bashing by those so eager to degrade another group of people that a survey of 502 people casts a shadow large enough to place a nation of 300 million under it.

YOU PEOPLE SUCK!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317361)

I hate you people!! It's bad enough that you believed that this was not happening all along. Long before September 11th. But now that you know about it, you're glad to give up your rights/freedom/privacy!!!

They were doing it from at least the 70's that I know of and it hasn't provided ANY security! It has only stripped you and me of our freedoms.

You people suck! This "news", the latest in a recent string of "revelations", should have cause complete outrage in 100% of the American population. Instead you display apathy and the government discusses making future such revelations crimes against the state!

I suspect a push poll (1)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317365)

A push poll is one where they decide in advance what they want to find, and construct loaded questions that people will have to answer their way. I suspect that this was a push poll. WKRC TV in Cincainnati did a similar poll on last night's news asking whether NSA domestic spying was an invasion of privacy, or homeland security. 70% said invasion of privacy.

It's why we have a republic (1)

BenFranske (646563) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317378)

"Even though the program has received bi-partisan criticism from Congress, it appears that the public values security over privacy."
This is why the framers set up a republic and not a democracy. At the time citizens were uneducated and they could not be trusted to make decisions on their own. The same appears to hold true today. The difference is the leaders aren't much better these days.

America does not value privacy of Al Qaeda (1)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317379)

it appears that the public values security over privacy

What a load of BS. What you should have said was that the public values security over the "privacy" of known Al Qaeda agents trying to murder us.

If you aren't Al Qaeda, if you aren't calling Al Qaeda, and if Al Qaeda isn't calling you then you aren't being spied upon without a warrant. Period, end of story, nothing more to see here. Those who call this issue domestic spying are flat out liars and spinsters. Call it what it is -- Al Qaeda spying. Domestic spying sounds much more threatening to the American people, but even when you lie you still have 63% of the people informed about the issue going along with the program. This is not a tragedy, it is not a sign of the decline of America. If anything it is testament to the intelligence of the American people. We aren't falling hook, line and sinker for the mainstream media's BS catch of the day.

That's not the point.... (1)

SkankinMonkey (528381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317393)

The point is not how ignorant the general public is, the point is that the government is breaking the law. Mind you, it can change the law if it wants too, but the fact is, it hasn't changed the law.

Ever heard of Traffic Analysis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317398)

From what I can tell of the fine USAtoday level stories, what they are talking about in this case is just traffic analysis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_analysis [wikipedia.org] - who is talking to whom, when, and how often:

Traffic analysis is the process of intercepting and examining messages in order to deduce information from patterns in communication. It can be performed even when the messages are encrypted and cannot be decrypted. In general, the greater the number of messages observed, or even intercepted and stored, the more that can be inferred from the traffic. Traffic analysis can be performed in the context of military intelligence or counter-intelligence, and is a concern in computer security.


This a far cry from attempting to record every call. The corporate data miners are putting together far more information on private citizens then this. And yes, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the NSA has agreements, err, back doors, with some of the data mining companies to help put it all together.

People (and the press) should focus there energies first on the bits that do seem clearly illegal, like wiretapping without warrants.

Get a Grip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317400)

Why do people fly off the handle over things like this. This program does not invade your privacy. The phone companies have much more specific and personal information about you and your dialing habits. The information the gov't receives is a phone number and what phone numbers that it called. They do not receive you name, address, social security number, yadda yadda. The database is there so that when they uncover a terrorist in the US, they can search the database for that phone number and find out who that terrorist is calling. Information like that would have prevented 9/11. Get a grip and stop assuming the gov't is out to get you. No need for the tin foil hats today.

NSA gives free enemas for the good of America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317402)

In recent news, the NSA has been sticking cameras up people's asses looking for terrorists. Citizens respond that they don't mind the irritation so much since these same people usually have something up their ass, and they don't need privacy so much anyway. Celebrities don't seem to need theirs.

Why is anyone surprised? (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317409)

Where is the outrage over limits on free speech that were passed in the name of campaign finance reform? How about the restrictions on firearm ownership? The primary beneficiaries of gun control are criminals and corrupt cops, neither groups now have to worry about armed citizens fighting back. How about the mess that is the War on Drugs? Where is the left-wing outrage over speech codes that let individuals decide that since they were offended, that someone can lose their job, get expelled from school or any other number of totalitarian powers over others for merely being offensive?

This is like getting royally pissed off that no one cares about a criminal kicking your dog after no one cared that every woman in your family got brutally raped, your family got robbed, your sons sent to prison for sticking their tongues out at a cop and the police get to put security cameras all around your property because they don't like you. Both of you groups, liberals and conservatives, had brought us to this point. The last 14 years have proved that neither liberals or conservatives give a damn about letting Americans live non-regimented lives as everything from MySpace to phone records are getting regulated in the name of creating a more "orderly and safe society."

If you think that the state has any role beyond securing life, liberty and property you are part of the problem, not the solution.

Why it doesn't concern me (much)... (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317411)

It's a database of numbers calling numbers. It's also the largest database in the world. I honestly don't see where it could be a threat to me unless the NSA has decided to investigate me for some reason.

In all reality, this database will probably only be used to search for calling patterns by people being investigated, looking for their regular contacts. Ideally, this thing could, from a single suspect, identify an entire terrorist cell and their point of contact outside the US.

There is always the worry of the slippery slope, though. Could this be used for something more nefarious than simply looking for networks of bad guys? Probably. What we need to do is identify potential abuses and demand accountability so that the system can't be used in the wrong way.

Rather than simply labelling this a Bad Thing, we should see if there's a way to make it work without threatening the average citizen. It is too useful to dismiss because it might be used against us.

IRS anyone? (3, Insightful)

Lester67 (218549) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317412)

If you think what the NSA is collecting is bad, why not take a look at what you send the IRS every year. (Assuming you're living in America.)

So big whoop....

Some from column A, and some from column B. (1)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317415)

So from what the papers, tv, radio, the courts and the 4th Amendment [findlaw.com] say, this is legal. Doesn't change the fact that it's wrong, though.

Time to start using encrypted VoIP.... (2, Insightful)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317416)

It's time to start using an encrypted VoIP that doesn't use DES (which NSA owns the patent on). Besides the problem is that all of this "security" is reactive and doesn't really stop anything.

Bipartisan backlash is to be expected. Democrats hate it for obvious reasons and Republicans hate it because many of them aren't getting relected this fall thanks to their disastrous policies that have run America into the dirt these last 6 years (Sorry folks "the truth" means nothing..only the facts).
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