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A Year Later, Most Americans Think Snowden Did The Right Thing (darkreading.com)
159 points by christianbryant on May 30, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 28 comments



55% of employed Americans believe Snowden was right to expose PRISM

A poll on "employed Americans" seems like a strange demographic to poll? I cannot think of why someone would chose such an odd demographic. I am looking forward to reading the questions.


55% - that's frighteningly low, for a developed country.


"55% of employed Americans" != "55% of Americans are employed"


I want this to be true, but that would be a massive reversal from this poll from January http://www.cbsnews.com/news/poll-most-think-edward-snowden-s... and other very similar polls around that time (even as late as April) ... http://bit.ly/1jyVj6t ... so I'll wait till the actual poll hits the presses before taking this seriously.


It depends on the question asked... if you ask people whether he did the right thing by exposing the surveillance, 55% yes.

another poll in favor of snowden: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/01/edward-snowden-supp...

if you ask them if he should stand trial, they also agree with that. tweaking the poll question can make a significant difference.


One could just pick defendants at random from the general population and get most Americans to vote for a trial. We are jealous, vindictive bastards.


Or a country that believes in the rule of law above other things.

You can simultaneously believe that what someone did was the right thing and think that they still need to stand trial. Now, believing those two and not thinking some sort of reform is necessary might be a harder position to hold.


If we're going to go by the rule of law, let's start with the offenders in this administration, the last administration, and in the intelligence and law enforcement community.


  It depends on the question asked.
Exactly. Subtle changes in the wording can bring about substantial differences in the poll outcome. Nuances are often important (and too often overlooked, imho).



> Eighty-two percent believe their personal information is still being analyzed by the US government, and 81 percent believe their personal information is being analyzed by corporations for business purposes.

I can't wrap my head around the other 20%, esp. in the latter statistic. What do they think the world looks like?


That 20% is likely made up from people who don't understand technology and it's capabilities (think older people who don't use computers - the kind of abilities talked about in the press must sound impossible to them) and people who were brought up to respect authority or think any questioning of government is anti-American socialism.


The data goes in, the data comes out -- you can't explain that!


Well; even among HN commenters, you routinely see an astonishingly naïve, civics-class knee-jerk tendency to outright ridicule any suggestion of extra-legality, duplicity or wrongdoing on the part of security agencies as tinfoil blather[1]. You would have thought people's priors would have changed in light of what we know today, but that would discount the enduring effect of some deeply-rooted notions about trust, benignness and law prevalent in many well-meaning circles in the US. So maybe this is part of that.

[1] See for instance the recent discussion on TrueCrypt, with some commenters refusing to believe any agency would force the developers to install a backdoor, due to the ostensible lack of any known explicit legal precedent or authority in the public domain, etc.


The wording mentions especially "their personal information". If you live without using much any internet site or service, no facebook, no twitter, etc, no smartphone either, you don't have anything to spy on. I don't know US statistics, but it seems possible that 10 to 20% of the population is living pretty much offline. So they can feel "safe".

However, they are still using a phone and pretty much all their call metadata are recorded at least...


You don't have anything to spy on, except your magazine subscriptions, credit card purchases, phone records, public library records, etc.


This makes sense. According to Wikipedia [1], in 2012 81% of Americans were Internet users. I would have expected it to be higher.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_in_the_United_States#...


All that this Snowman did is that he confirmed that the API's really exist and that there were requests for weakening of the security protocols.

All in all, direct data access thru API's isn't a bad thing in general because it provides a fast response option but also we should have in mind the human factor error option and the misuse of the API's for the sake of personal interest and that should really make any citizen worried.

Did he endangered the security of the USA ? No. We all had assumptions about it before but they weren't yet confirmed.

Did the weakening of the security protocols endangered the USA/World economy and the security of the USA/World citizens? Absolutely YES. Anyone could reverse-engineer the weakened protocol.

All in all:

Did he did the right thing regarding his employer? No.

Did he did the right thing regarding the rest of us? Yes.


I would say the answer to both questions is yes.


Sadly, I dont think this the case. Most everyone I've spoken to about Snowden either didnt know who he was or was some what fine with being spied on the catch "terrorists."

I still dont believe the general public understands the gravity of the situation. Now the US is looking way worse than China. Most people still dont understand how tarnishing this is to our already horrible image abroad.


> Now the US is looking way worse than China.

Do you not see any irony in you being allowed to saythis online?

The US is bad, but it is hyperbole to suggest that the US is "way worse" than China. How many political dissidents does the US execute or imprison, for one example?


While I do not agree that the U.S. is worse than China, I think wil421 meant that we look worse to other countries, not necessarily that we are. There are countries outside of the U.S. that do not look favorably upon what the U.S. does regarding our military tactics, etc. Residents of other countries will form their opinions based on how the U.S. treats them and their country and what they read/hear about.


>is looking

I didnt say we were way worse than China I said we are looking way worse (this is in regards to spying not human rights, pollution or other issues). Its one thing to claim China is conducting corporate espionage abroad. But its also pretty bad to say we are indiscriminately spying on people in entire countries. Literally the entire country.


And who's saying China isn't capable (and more likely doing) of the exact same thing? There are some absolutely brilliant hackers and tech workers who are born into PRC propaganda.


With absolute neutrality towards the topic of the article, here are some warning flags for the data presented.

"Employed Americans" isn't a typical survey category, and the author makes no attempt at explaining why "Employed Americans" was a more relevant demographic to survey than all americans, all adults, all adults between ages of x and y, etc. Nor does the author present equivalent statistics for the more commonly surveyed demographics.

"Nearly one in two employed Americans" really just means almost 50%, and could be misleading on quick glance.


Perhaps relevant: I was having coffee at a friend's house yesterday morning, and he was talking about Snowden. My friend has totally changed his mind, now thinking that Snowden did the right thing. I know this is just one data point but the flip in opinion surprised me.


i was reminded of this video regarding polls. tldw: they are bullshit. http://youtu.be/If9EWDB_zK4


why do I feel this title implies that what "americans" think is inaccurate or wrong ?




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