Trading Privacy for Security
By Bruce Stokes, Director of Global Economic Attitudes, Pew Research Center
Special to Foreign Policy
The American people believe that the National Security Agency may have gone too far in spying on U.S. allies. They also think that the NSA has intruded on Americans’ personal privacy in scooping up massive amounts of private phone calls and emails. But don’t expect to see citizens taking to the streets. In fact, in the pursuit of terrorists, a majority will still trade privacy for security. And while it’s pretty clear the NSA is watching, it’s unclear to what extent Americans care.
A new survey by the Pew Research Center found that 56 percent of Americans thought it unacceptable for the United States to monitor the phone calls of the leaders of allied nations, including Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany. Just 36 percent thought it acceptable. But then again, just 22 percent said they were following this story very closely.
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