Survey says Americans Divided on Government Surveillance
Americans are divided over whether or not the U.S. government has gone too far in using surveillance practices that infringe on citizens' privacy, an NBC News online survey found.
While 38 percent of Americans say the government's surveillance program has gone too far in infringing on people's privacy, 35 percent say the government's program has been relatively balanced between privacy concerns and fighting terrorism. Another one in four Americans say the U.S. surveillance program has been too restrained in its efforts to combat terrorists, according to the survey, which was conducted online by SurveyMonkey from June 3-5.
Independents are slightly more likely to see the government as intrusive, the survye says, as 44 percent say that the government has gone too far, compared to 38 percent of Democrats and 28 percent of Republicans.
Among those who support the Tea Party, 36 percent say the government has overstepped its bounds, a point echoed by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, who has been heavily campaigning for president on his stand against extending the bulk collection program.
Still, most Americans are not personally concerned about the U.S. government monitoring their own phone calls and internet activity - 6 in 10 say they are "a little" or "not at all" concerned. Still, a sizable 4 in 10 say they are "somewhat" or "very" concerned.
According to the survey, 53 percent say they trust neither government agencies nor businesses like cellular telephone companies and internet providers to keep records of their phone calls or internet activity secure. Slightly more trust private business over government agencies - 21 percent to 11 percent, while another 14 percent trust both equally.
The NBC News Online Survey was conducted among a national sample of 2,153 adults aged 18 and over. Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in the SurveyMonkey Audience panel.