Gregory Ferenstein writes: Years after the world learned that the United States has a vast surveillance apparatus, Americans have generally come to support these programs. In fact, a new report from Pew shows that not only do most Americans approve of mass surveillance, they believe it’s acceptable for the government to engage in more aggressive practices than it probably already does.
Depending on the wording of the question, several polls have found that a majority, or near majority, of Americans believe that the U.S. government should prioritize investigating terrorist threats over protecting privacy. Broadly speaking, 56 percent believe that the National Security Agency’s phone and Internet spying program is an “acceptable way for the government to investigate terrorism.”
But Pew’s latest poll shows just how much spying Americans believe is acceptable. “The public generally believes it is acceptable for the government to monitor many others, including foreign citizens, foreign leaders, and American leaders,” the Pew Report concludes. [Continue reading…]