A new Pew Research/Washington Post poll shows that 56 percent of Americans are comfortable with the federal government tracking phone call records as part of its investigations of terrorism. Forty-one percent indicated that it was unacceptable. (Two percent didn’t know.)
The poll was taken during the week of June 6-9, as reports of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activity was revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
That might seem more lenient than expected, but it appears that Americans are more concerned about email privacy and Internet activity.
When asked about whether the federal government should be allowed to monitor emails and online activities, only 45 percent of respondents said it should be allowed. Fifty-two percent said it shouldn’t be allowed, and three percent said they didn’t know.
The 11-point difference between email and phone privacy, however, might lie within the differences in the wording of each polling question.
The question about phone records (shown above) pre-supposes that the NSA is “getting secret court orders” to track phone activity. The question about email and Internet activity does not have that caveat.