40 Percent of Americans Accept Government Surveillance

Americans have accepted that the government spies on us, but a fair amount of people consider the government's actions acceptable.

People have largely come to terms with the fact that if you go online, you're movements will be tracked by the government, according to a report released by the Pew Research Center. But 40 percent of those people went as far to say it's acceptable for the government to spy on its own citizens. Of course, more people were willing to consider the surveillance of suspected terrorists, international and U.S. leaders, and “other citizens” as acceptable.


It's a bit unsettling that even after Edward Snowden leaked that the NSA had been using online companies to spy on its own citizens, we're willing to roll over and give up. The bright side is that the majority of people find the government's actions unacceptable (57 percent), but the flip side is that they've done little to change their online habits.

Pew reports that only 34 percent have taken steps to limit transmission of personal information. For instance, only 17 percent of people have updated their privacy settings on social media (15 percent have decreased their usage) and 10 percent now use a search engine that doesn't track your history, like DuckDuckGo or StartPage.

Tor, the proxy network that's easy to install and use to mask your traffic, has been another popular piece of software among privacy experts. However, almost half of the people Pew surveyed had not adopted it as their browser and nearly as many have no idea what Tor is. So, perhaps it's not a lack of trying, just a lack of available information.

Most people, it seems, are just giving up, as Mike Murphy from Quartz reported on the recent research, writing:

“According to the report of Pew’s findings shared with Quartz, many respondents argued that citizens should just accept this reality — and not worry about the government surveilling them if they’re doing nothing wrong ...

“'Law-abiding citizens have nothing to hide and should not be concerned,' one respondent told Pew researchers.”

It's a logical fallacy that Snowden himself has tried to bat down in his appearances.

“When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about this right.’ You’re saying, ‘I don’t have this right, because I’ve got to the point where I have to justify it.’ The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your rights.”

Read more at Quartz and the Pew Research Center.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Steven Pinker's 13 rules for writing better

The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Steven Pinker speaks onstage during OZY Fest 2018 at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on July 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Ozy Media)
Personal Growth
  • Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
  • When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
  • Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less