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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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Lorna Garey
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Ninja
5/30/2014 | 10:04:39 AM
Re: Definitely the right thing! --- ?
With the caveat that I held a TS clearance for many years, a fact that likely colors my opinion, I consider Edward Snowden a traitor. He seems to have some delusional thinking going on as well ("a real spy"? Seriously?)

We can debate the legal minutia of PRISM all day. We can debate metadata and what level of intrusion happened to US citizens as opposed to foreign nationals. We can debate what amount of privacy we're willing to give up to avoid another 9/11. And certainly that's a conversation worth having. But let's also ackowledge that plenty of people are going to automatically assume that anything the NSA says it its defense, or about what damage Snowden did, is a lie. That's no more realistic than declaring the man a hero. 

To me, the fundamental facts are that he unilaterally decided to steal huge amounts of sensitive data, flee, and then trickle out data in a way that seems mostly concerned with keeping his name in the media spotlight.  
User Rank: Guru
5/30/2014 | 10:48:23 PM
Re: Definitely the right thing!
First and last, alpha and omega, he knowingly and willingly broke laws.  We citizens elect officials to write laws.  If you don't like the laws written, change the politicians.  I simply suggested people take responsibility for our government, by entering public service.  Change from the inside is generally more permanent than that caused by outside forces.  This is how our country has always worked best, individuals working to better their society, legally.

Attempting to equate government monitoring of communications with the Nazi murder of Jews shows an illogical mind.  Or even impugning I support the Nazi methods, illogical.

Based on this, I doubt your mental clarity and capability, and so your ability to be an effective security professional.  Unfounded knee-jerk statements by anyone working in IA is a liability.  As a IA professional, my primary responsibility to my employer is to minimize their risk exposure, legally.  Interesting, our Constitution allows for all Americans to voice their opinions, you are exercising your voice.  I do not agree with you, Snowden broke the law, he knew what he was doing.  He did commit a crime. 

I think your comment for me to grow a pair, is obnoxious, and ego-centric.  Sir, I grew a pair a while ago.  I've been in uniform for 30+ years, and have put my life on the line in more unpleasant corners of this earth than you've dreamed.  I have walked the walk, and talked the talk.

The United States government is a vast compilation of different organizations deployed across one of the most beautiful countries on our globe, not a single entity with a single point of success or failure.  The bottom line is we do not engage in systematically executing people based on their religion, color, country of origin or sexual preferences.  That was done by the Nazi.  Is still being done by other countries, and you likely buy their products at your local department store.  In effect you are likely supporting their continued pogrom.  Truthfully, as a nation we do try to help the down trodden, and liberate the oppressed.  It is because of this truth, that many, many good men and women, stand guard every night.  So that others like you and me can sleep peacefully.
User Rank: Strategist
6/10/2014 | 12:20:54 AM
Re: Definitely the right thing!
how does the ole saw go? if you can't argue the facts argue the law?

you are trying to argue that the outcome of Snowden's actions...which you happen to approve...mitigate the transgressions. not going to fly. he signed an oath. he violated that oath and a multitude of security commitments with KNOWN penalties he agreed to IN ADVANCE of receiving access.

- his actions were pre-meditated

- the "weighting" seems to conveniently miss the fact that he exploited not only his employer/customer....but his teammates as well. the notion that he, in this instance, acted as a beacon of virtue is patently false. 

- what NSA, any other organization or person has done is irrelevant to Snowden's culpability.

we can save for another time discussing the laughable circumstances of where he fled to and ensuing actions. yup...pure as a new-born baby's bottom!!

in the end...what you're really arguing is an ancient meme: the ends justify the means. I'd be careful with that one...it is, perhaps, too flexible a rule to live by.





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