A new survey from Pew finds that a huge majority of Americans are now extremely wary of government spying, with 80% saying they are concerned about the NSA actively monitoring their communications.
The poll found that the large majority either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that “Americans should be concerned about the government’s monitoring of phone calls and Internet communications.”
In the survey of over 600 people, more than 43% said that they knew “a lot” about “the government collecting information about telephone calls, emails, and other online communications as part of efforts to monitor terrorist activity,” While a further 44% said that they had heard at least something about it.More Americans than ever are aware that their government has been and still is spying on them.
Respondents were most concerned about government monitoring their social media activities. Over 70% of social media users said they were at least somewhat concerned about the NSA having access to the social media content, while 37% said they were “very concerned” about this facet of government spying.
In addition, 91% of adults in the survey “agree” or “strongly agree” that consumers have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies such as Google and Facebook.
While a recent separate poll found that Americans seemed more wary of Google and Facebook than they were of the NSA, this latest Pew poll indicates that Americans are just as concerned about how their own government is taking advantage of such communications companies for surveillance.
In addition, a previous survey by Pew found that 86% of Americans said they were willing to discuss NSA spying in person, while less than half that figure, only 42%, were willing to make their opinions known online, for fear of being placed on some government watch list or worse.
“One of the most notable findings in the study is that those who have heard the most about government surveillance are more privacy-sensitive across an array of questions in the survey,” Mary Madden, senior researcher at the Pew Research Center said.
“Those who are more aware of the monitoring programs feel considerably less secure using any communications channel to share private information.” she added.
The legislation is being pushed by Senate intelligence committee head Dianne Feinstein, who has said there should be “privacy compromises” in order to get it passed.With the opening of the post-election “lame-duck” session this week, there are fears that the now GOP controlled Senate will attempt to sneak through a “cybersecurity” bill, already passed in the House, that would “create a massive loophole in our existing privacy laws,” according to theACLU.
The Obama Administration has previously said that it intended to veto such legislation. However, the White House also recently stated that an “information sharing” cybersecurity bill, rather than reform of the NSA, was a priority.
The FBI is also currently lobbying to force the likes of Google and Facebook to insert backdoors into email and chat programs.
It seems that while Americans have become wary of government spying, it is not going away any time soon unless further action is demanded.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.