Poll the secrets

June 13, 2013

global-times-nsa-cartoonAnother dark, gloomy and overcast morning here on California’s north coast, though, as a Thursday, we’re much closer to the weekend than we were yesterday.
Which does say something, but what?

And as times passes, Americans view NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in a different light: Roughly one in three Americans say the former security contractor who leaked details of top-secret U.S. surveillance activity is a patriot and should not be prosecuted, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.

(Illustration found here).

The Reuters poll also illustrated the ground-swell of shit on the entire nefarious affair: Some 23 percent of those surveyed said former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is a traitor while 31 percent said he is a patriot. Another 46 percent said they did not know.
Here therein lies the rub — a lot of people don’t yet know, but indications are, once they do know the salient facts, the government will suck worse.

Similar reasoning on Snowden — Bruce Schneier, a security technologist, in Tuesday’s New York Times: I believe that history will hail Snowden as a hero — his whistle-blowing exposed a surveillance state and a secrecy machine run amok. I’m less optimistic of how the present day will treat him, and hope that the debate right now is less about the man and more about the government he exposed.
Dream on that one.

And like most other items in American life nowadays, Republicans favor the NSA shit-stick spying, while Democrats don’t — the GOP just can’t handle change, but these polls demonstrate the power in the choice of words.
Via the LA Times:

Fifty-three percent told Gallup they disagree with federal efforts to “compile telephone call logs and Internet communications,” with 37 percent saying they approved.
The poll differs from findings of a Pew Research Center/Washington Post survey released Monday, which found that 56 percent of Americans believe the NSA’s use of secret court orders in an effort to prevent terrorism was acceptable. In that poll, opposition was higher on a question asking whether the government should monitor everyone’s email to curtail terrorism, with 52 percent saying no and 45 percent in favor.
Three other polls released this week have found varying results in questions about the issue, with much of the outcome depending on the specific wording of questions.
Pollsters typically find that kind of widespread variation on subjects that members of the public have not thought about extensively or are unfamiliar with.
The Pew poll, for example, told respondents that the NSA had been “getting secret court orders to track telephone call records … in an effort to investigate terrorism.”
The Gallup poll made no mention of court orders.
In addition, Pew asked if the government action was “acceptable” or “unacceptable,” while Gallup asked if people “approve” or “disapprove” – questions that can sometimes elicit different responses.
The Internet pollster YouGov, in a survey done for the Huffington Post, asked whether respondents thought “collecting and analyzing Americans’ phone records” was “justified” or “unnecessary” as a “way to combat terrorism.”
Asking the question that way produced a lower level of support, with 22 percent saying the action was “justified,” and a much higher level of people saying they were unsure, 23 percent.

With President Obama in the White House, Democrats stand in support of the NSA’s methods, 49 percent to 40 percent in the Gallup survey.
Republicans were opposed 63 percent to 32 percent.
When President George W. Bush was in office, Republicans were supportive of government surveillance efforts and Democrats opposed.

And in a related vein, this from the Christian Science Monitor:

Americans are also skeptical that the snooping is doing much good.
Per YouGov, only 35 percent say it’s likely the information has prevented a terror attack, while 54 percent doubt it has.
And while President Obama insists that “nobody is listening to your phone calls,” it turns out only 17 percent of Americans think that’s true, according to the YouGov poll, taken June 8 to 10.

Americans, I think, are a pretty-skeptical people overall — we don’t trust shit with an odorous scent.
And this entire NSA scooping/spying program don’t pass the smell test. And now with the ACLU filing suit against the Obama Administration’s spying program, more information on the actual workings of the NSA programs might come to light. Or a judge somewhere will strike it down.
Or the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Poll the pollsters.

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