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.”
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.
- Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
- At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.
- The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
- The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
- It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.