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A Year Later, Most Americans Think Snowden Did The Right Thing

On anniversary of whistleblowing, 55 percent of Americans say Snowden was right to expose NSA's surveillance program; 82 percent believe they are still being watched.

A year ago this week, contractor Edward Snowden published documents exposing the National Security Agency's PRISM program, which included online surveillance of US citizens. Was he justified in doing so? More than half of Americans believe he was.

According to a survey scheduled to be published this week by research firm YouGov and commissioned by security firm Tresorit, 55 percent of employed Americans believe Snowden was right to expose PRISM. 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.

Nearly one in two employed Americans name constitutional rights as the reason for their support of Snowden’s exposure of PRISM: 44 percent of employed Americans cite their civil rights as key reasons that they support Snowden’s cause. Snowden supporters tend to be younger: Just 20 percent of young adults aged 16-34 believe Snowden’s actions were wrong, compared to 41 percent of adults aged 55 or older.

More than half of those surveyed (51 percent) don’t know if their employers have taken measures to ensure that corporate files are secure. Only 32 percent of respondents report that their employer has taken such steps.

Thirty-seven percent of employed Americans say they have not taken any steps in the last year to ensure personal digital security, according to the survey. Forty percent of employed Americans say they have created stronger passwords, while one in four (26%) have created different passwords for different online accounts.

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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Robert McDougal
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Robert McDougal,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2014 | 10:26:39 AM
Definitely the right thing!
In my opinion, his actions were undoubtedly the right thing to do.  My reasoning is that the United States government was and continues to violate the 4th amendment of the constitution.  In essence, our government is willfully violating the law of the land.

The 4th amendment protects American citizens from unlawful search and seizure and sets forth the requirement of a judicial warrant issued based on probable cause.  Further case law (Katz v. United States) expanded the 4th amendment to protect citizens who "exhibit an actual expectation of privacy".  For example when I place a call to my friend I am exhibiting an expectation of privacy between my friend and myself.  Consequently, if I send an email to my friend, I should be exhibiting the same expectation of privacy, therefore any search and seizure of said email is in violation of the 4th amendment.

In my mind, the issue is as simple as that.  The US government is willfully violating a key civil right set forth in the constitution and we the citizens deserved to be made aware of that fact.
Andre Leonard
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100%
Andre Leonard,
User Rank: Strategist
5/29/2014 | 11:34:11 AM
Re: Definitely the right thing!
Outstanding observation, summary and analysis. In the end, someone has to monitor the government for abuses. They cannot be left to monitor themselves. That's how we got into this mess.

 

 
pdegenkolb941
50%
50%
pdegenkolb941,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/29/2014 | 11:53:32 AM
Snowden is a traitor
Talking Fourth Amendment is not relevant, as the information the NSA is gathering is (to a significant degree) already open.  The metadata on phone calls is already stored by the phone companies, and what the NSA collects is nothing compared to what Google (and many other private companies) collect and sell. (Only the NSA does not sell the data.)  Snowden lied to get his position, then with intent, stole classified and or sensitive information and then released it to a (many) foreign governments.  There is nothing good or proper or enlightened about what he did.


The problem with the NSA spying is not the agency, or the processes they use, it is the elected officials that misuse the information.  For the actions of the elected officials, we have only ourselves to blame.
PacoCW3
0%
100%
PacoCW3,
User Rank: Guru
5/29/2014 | 12:23:57 PM
Re: Definitely the right thing!
He was wrong.  He broke the law.  Breaking the law makes one a criminal.  This is fact. Majority of Americans do not think Showden did the right thing.  This article is biased, based on those who you chose to provide opinion polls.

If one wants to discuss ethics or morality and the laws there is ability for this discussion, because we are a republic.  The power of America is we can discuss and adjust, remove or write laws that are seen as unjust, unethical, and so not right, or are needed to make the situation right. 

Legislators, freely elected, voted for those laws some of our citizenry are rallying against.  He broke the present law.  He signed legally binding non-disclosure agreement with our government. Potentially the methods used for data copying were also illegal.  Who's optical media was used? His personal or those he stole and from whom.

If he signed non-disclosure agreements with a "silicon valley" tech firm and walked off with "trade secrets" would he be a law breaker or not?   If you don't like our Country's or State or City's laws or how your think parts of the governmental organization operates, change is on you.  Become a Manager.  Become a Legislator.  Change from the inside is often the best longest last positive and effective change.  Change through mob mentality is often in the end, more problematic.
Andre Leonard
50%
50%
Andre Leonard,
User Rank: Strategist
5/29/2014 | 12:39:58 PM
Re: Definitely the right thing!
Robert, all your observations are spot-on. Your rational and reasoning ring true for those with an open mind. The truth well told.

There will always be dissenters on this issue of freedom and liberty and those are the ones that got us into this mess. For me and others who believe the governments actions to be egregious. Keep in mind the truth well told is seldom welcome. Many people just cannot handle the truth.  

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/government-elections-politics/united-states-of-secrets/how-the-nsas-secret-elite-hacking-unit-works/
TerryB
75%
25%
TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2014 | 1:07:20 PM
Re: Definitely the right thing!
@PacoCW3  People like you are the problem, the ones that like to get led around by the nose by authority and not have to think for themselves. People like you are exactly why a Nazi Germany could eliminate Jews. You were a "criminal" in that country if you tried to help them, that was the law.

Even this country used to say it was OK to have slaves. Being the law and being the right thing to do are two totally different things.

That fact you are still so naive to think this government in US even works anymore shows just how out of touch you are. The entire system is out of control, no one is fixing anything from the inside.

I applaud Snowden for doing what he thought was right. Whether you think it is right is irrelevant, he could care less. Point is, this act was not carried out to improve his personal status in life. No one can make that argument, even closed minded people like yourself. He gave up money, the country where he lives, his family, etc to let Americans know what was going on. None of this was motivated by personal gain for him.

Your comparison to stealing trade secrets in Silicon Valley is ridiculous. If I worked in Silicon Valley with non disclose but found out iPhones were made from stealing babies and turning them into oil, you think my non disclosure would matter? Grow a pair and quit depending on government to think for you. Otherwise you'll be saying "Heil Hitler" again before you know it.
JohnF555
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100%
JohnF555,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/29/2014 | 1:40:55 PM
Not a Whistleblower...
Snowden was not a whistleblower - he's a rat bastard criminal - full stop. What he did was a criminal act - if it was legitimate whistleblowing, way is he hiding (and aiding and abetting) with the Russians? There is more oversight, audit and checking process conducted at NSA than you could possibly imagine...I'd commend this article if you have an interest in knowing the actual state of affairs.

http://www.afr.com/Page/Uuid/b67d7b3e-d570-11e3-90e8-355a30324c5f
Robert McDougal
50%
50%
Robert McDougal,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2014 | 2:41:00 PM
Re: Snowden is a traitor
I don't follow your logic when it comes to elected officials being the ones that misuse the data collected by the NSA.  I may have missed something but I don't recall seeing a report stating that Congress is utilizing the data collected by the NSA for any purpose.  To the contrary, the NSA will not deny that they are spying on members of congress. Additionally the CIA appears to have been caught manipulating data on the computers used by on elected officials.

Also, just because the phone companies already store the information isn't a valid justification for allowing the government access to the data.  On the contrary, the Wiretap act of 1968 (expanded in 1986 to include electronic communication) prohibits the disclosure of that information.  Additionally, the Wiretap act states that providors (Telcos, etc) are allowed to view this data only if it is in the normal course of their duties and that they "shall not utilize service observing or random monitoring except for mechanical or service quality control checks".

Wiretap Act

 

 
Robert McDougal
50%
50%
Robert McDougal,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2014 | 2:55:59 PM
Re: Definitely the right thing!
You are correct, if I sign a non-disclosure agreement with a company and walk away with trade secrets, I would have broken the law.  However, let me pose a hypothetical situation to you.

Let's say I sign a contract and a NDA with a company to make bootleg Blu-Rays.  Although I signed both a contract and an NDA neither of which are valid since the basis of the business is illegal.  This is referred to as an illegal agreement and is not enforceable in a court.

Translating this example into the Snowden case, if the US government is willfully violating the fourth amendment, the Wiretap act, and several other laws then any contracts signed protecting the existence of the said operation are null and void.

 
Lorna Garey
100%
0%
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2014 | 3:00:39 PM
Re: Definitely the right thing!
Sorry, also calling BS here. Had he made these revelations in a responsible manner, then stayed around and dealt with the fallout, he'd be a whistleblower. He didn't. He stole data, broke his employment contract, fled the country, and damaged our national security. That makes him a criminal and a traitor. This is not a constitutional issue. It's a rule of law issue.

Oh, and in terms of public sentiment? Most Americans care about the Kardashians and think the Earth is 6,000 years old, too.
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