Last week a couple of terrorist tracking programs through the National Security Administration (NSA) came to light, but this week it turns out that Americans aren’t that concerned about them. In fact, about half of those polled said they approve of those programs.
It was revealed last week that the agency has demanded the phone records of millions of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) customers. The PRISM data mining program, which involved companies like Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), also came to light.
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A New Poll About The NSA’s Spying Programs
The Washington Post and the Pew Research Center polled more than 1,000 Americans about the NSA spying programs. Of those who responded to the poll, 56 percent of them said they see phone record tracking as an “acceptable” method for investigating terrorists. On the other hand, 41 percent saw it as unacceptable, and the rest didn’t have an opinion on the subject.
The poll also indicates that 62 percent of Americans think it is important for officials to seek possible terrorist threats even if that impacts their personal privacy. Thirty-four percent said officials shouldn’t interfere with personal privacy even if that means it won’t be able to fully look into potential terrorist threats.
The poll also showed that 45 percent of Americans believe officials should have access to their email and other online information if it’s expected that it could prevent terrorist attacks from occurring in the future. Fifty-two percent were against this.
Pew noted that the percentages on both sides of the privacy issues is about the same as it was when the poll was done again in 2002 just months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Tech Companies’ Views On Privacy
Privacy concerns have been a hot topic in the tech community of late. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) was sued by the Justice Department in an attempt to get it to hand over user data without a search warrant. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) said earlier this year that it would lobby harder in support of privacy practices.
Google’s increased efforts to fight for the privacy of its users may be part of its damage control plan against Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Scroogled ad campaign, which was aimed at showing off how Google uses the information of its users to sell ads.