Poll: 66 Percent OK With Obama Administration Collecting Internet Data

ReasonReasonAlthough Obama’s approval rating has taken a hit thanks in part to the ongoing NSA, IRS, and DOJ scandals a recent CNN poll indicates that most Americans think that it is “right” that the Obama administration collect and analyze data on internet use.

From The Weekly Standard:

A new CNN poll finds that 66 percent of American adults believe that it's "right" for the Obama administration to analyze and collect Internet data. Only 33 percent believe the action is "wrong," and 1 percent have "No opinion."

"[F]or the past few years the Obama administration has reportedly been gathering and analyzing information from major internet companies about audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails and documents involving people in other countries in an attempt to locate suspected terrorists. The government reportedly does not target internet usage by U.S. citizens and if such data is collected, it is kept under strict controls," reads the poll question. "Do you think the Obama administration was right or wrong in gathering and analyzing that internet data?"

On phone call information, the public is a little less enthusiastic, but still supportive. Fifty-one percent believe the Obama administration is "right," 48 percent believe the administration is "wrong," and 1 percent have "No opinion."

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  • Andrew S.||

    That CNN poll is about the most loaded "poll" question I've ever seen.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "Do you side with the president and America or do you side with the terrorists?"

  • Hyperion||

    Let's rephrase that a little:

    Who do you think poses a greater threat to your well being, the US government, or the terrorists?

  • ||

    It's not even really that tough a call. Sadly.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Based on simple statistics as to likelihood of death, I'd say the government.

  • nipplemancer||

    66% of americans are state-fellating douchebags.

  • Killazontherun||

    The government is their free shit Santa, and how is Santa suppose to personalize what to give them if he isn't listening into their calls and text messages?

  • Hyperion||

    If you asked CNN viewers if it would be ok for the Obama admin to torture puppies and kitties, just for the hell of it, 66% would say it's ok.

  • Bryan C||

    Oh, absolutely. We probably shouldn't even be allowed to talk about it.

  • Killazontherun||

    'It has been reported that Michelle and Barry keep the romantic spark going in their marriage by crushing the skulls of kittens under a pair of stilettos. Do you a) want to hear more about the sex lives of old people, or 2) do you feel it is no one's business what goes on in the bedroom of the First Couple?'

  • John||

    "[F]or the past few years the Obama administration has reportedly been gathering and analyzing information from major internet companies about audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails and documents involving people in other countries in an attempt to locate suspected terrorists. The government reportedly does not target internet usage by U.S. citizens and if such data is collected, it is kept under strict controls,"

    That is the question. The poll is worthless. It doesn't ask them about collecting data on US calls and US people. And it further assumes there will be "strict controls" whatever those are and doesn't ask people if they trust the government to implement such controls.

    When you look at how the question is worded, I am surprised that it wasn't 90%. The question is basically asking if the US can spy on foreigners. What a worthless poll. And shame on Reason for publicizing it.

  • KPres||

    Yeah, why does it say "if such data is collected"? If? We know that it's being collected! That's the whole fucking point! Jesus, talk about fishing for a response. How the fuck are people too stupid to not see through all this bullshit?

  • John||

    The poll respondents just don't pay that much attention. Show me a poll where people are asked

    "Should the NSA or other US government intelligence agencies be able to monitor internet traffic and phone calls of Americans on US soil without a warrant or any probable cause to believe they are involved in foreign sponsored or international terrorism?"

    What is the answer to that question is what is important because that is what is actually occurring.

  • ||

    Like or +1 or whatever the fuck.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "The terrorists will win if the President's hands are tied. Do you want America to defeat the terrorists?"

  • Sevo||

    And when did you stop beating your spouse?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "66 percent of American adults believe that it's "right" for the Obama administration to analyze and collect Internet data. Only 33 percent believe the action is "wrong," and 1 percent have "No opinion.""

    My rights aren't a popularity contest.

  • KPres||

    51% justifies anything. Tony told me so.

  • entropy||

    Except when 51% of everyone around here wants him to go away.

    That doesn't count.

  • Andrew S.||

    I have a sinking feeling that if you put the bill of rights up to a national vote, the vast majority of it would be voted down. The 2nd and 3rd would probably stick around, but we'd lose most of the 1st, and likely all of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th. I'd say we'd lose the 9th and 10th as well, but I'm not sure those exist anymore anyways.

  • John||

    Except that the poll didn't ask about your rights. It asked about the ability of the government to spy on foreigners, something every government can do.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "66 percent of American adults believe that it's "right" for the Obama administration to analyze and collect Internet data."

    I don't care if 66% of American adults believed that it was right for the Obama Administration to take our guns away and reinstitute Jim Crow. My rights still wouldn't be a popularity contest...

    The government should get a warrant (with probable cause and everything) if it wants to put me under that kind of surveillance--no matter what 66% of American adults believe. How's that?

  • John||

    That is great Ken. But that is not what the question asked. RTFA. The question didn't ask about collecting information on Americans. It asked about collecting information on foreigners.

    Have you lost the ability to read?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The government reportedly does not target internet usage by U.S. citizens and if such data is collected, it is kept under strict controls," reads the poll question."

    I don't give a shit what 66% of American adults think of my rights--they're still my rights anyway.

    I don't care if 66% of American adults think it's okay for the government to put me under surveillance so long as the data is kept under strict controls. I don't care if 66% of American adults think it's okay to violate my rights--without any controls whatsoever!

    I thought it disgusting when people put gay marriage on the ballot in California--as if whether gay people's rights should be respected should depend on my vote? Why should my opinion on gay people's rights matter any more than their opinion on my Second Amendment rights?

    Every. single. discussion. of the popularity of respecting people's rights should always be predicated with a statement about how our rights are not a popularity contest since--you know--they're not.

    I'm willing to discuss these things as an academic exercise so long as everyone's clear on that point. My rights do not exist for society's convenience, and they certainly don't disappear if and when they become unpopular.

  • John||

    I thought it disgusting when people put gay marriage on the ballot in California--as if whether gay people's rights should be respected should depend on my vote?

    And such a right exists why? Because you say so? I am sure there is some liberal out there who thinks it is disgusting that welfare is put up to a vote. Everyone has a right to a decent living don't they?

    You are no better than a typical liberal Ken. You just want your fucking pony and don't care how you get it. Sorry, but calling everything you want a "right" doesn't make enforcing it on everyone less authoritarian.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Our rights come about in a number of ways. I'd love to be able to claim to be the first person to assert that they come from somewhere other than government.

    You should take a close look at Theory of Moral Sentiments. Or better yet, look at the 9th Amendment. Get your head around what it really means.

    The idea that our rights exist apart from government isn't novel. The idea that they exist because people vote on them isn't entirely novel either. Some of my fellow Southerners used to think taking a vote on slavery somehow made it okay--as if voting to violate other people's rights somehow made it all okay?

    They were wrong.

    Our rights come into existence in a number of ways. Some of them come into existence simply because we assert them. When I confirm your right to speak your mind, I confirm my own right to do likewise. When I insist that I have a right, it's granted to you, too. My rights to life or to pursue my own happiness certainly don't require any input from government. They originate from the very fact of my existence.

    Whether masses of people choose to violate those rights without regard for them is certainly a matter of popular opinion, but when masses of people choose to violate them, that doesn't mean those rights don't exist.

    If anyone is like a liberal here, it's you John. Tony thinks our rights don't exist unless the government says so, too. Maybe you and Tony should go bowling.

  • Dave Krueger||

    I wonder what the results of the poll would have been if they left out the part about not targeting U.S. citizens. It's pretty funny (but, not surprising) that a "51% likelihood that a target is foreign" meets CNN's standard of "strict controls".

  • entropy||

    On my home PC I was already running firefox with adblocker plus and noscript (which takes a bit of management but is awesome and makes your browser basically malware proof).

    I've now added DoNotTrackMe, Ghostery (those are redundant but seem to work fine together), and BetterPrivacy. Since I have noscript I also turned off blocking of attack sites and turned the no tracking option on in firefox.

    It was all pretty much turnkey, just download and forget. Very easy, no problems so far. Although Ghostery was set not to block anything by default which I changed to block everything by default.

  • Dave Krueger||

    If telecom companies have been voluntarily partnering with the government to assist them in gathering user data, is it plausible to believe that the establishment media are voluntarily partnering with the government to control the "damage" done by the Snowden leaks?

    I think it's entirely possible.

  • entropy||

    Possible?

    Dude count on it. What kind of crappy authoritarian government wouldn't keep a pet media? It's an essential organ of the State.

  • ||

    I really wish these news polls would just stop. How you can extrapolate these responses for a few thousand people to collectively apply it to 330 million is beyond me.

  • ||

    And that is why polls are retarded beyond comprehension. Why do you think the pollsters are so very, very wrong every election?

  • creech||

    Of course - why else are 20% of Americans generic libertarians but only 1% actually vote that way?

  • John||

    Because the Libertarian party is run by a bunch of nuts and manages to run off most of the people who are inclined to support it?

  • sam the man||

    This.

  • ||

    I usually blame that on general retardation or them eating lead paint or something.

  • John||

    And even if you could, they are only as good as the questions asked. Polls are mostly used by one side or another to convince the middle or soft supporters of the other side to change their opinion by making them think the other side is out of the mainstream.

    Also, remember too that polls are very expensive to run and run well. News organizations almost never have the money to run them properly. So what you get are half assed slanted polls done as a means of political propaganda.

    Yeah, the media needs to stop doing them.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    "[F]or the past few years the Obama administration has reportedly been gathering and analyzing information from major internet companies about audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails and documents involving people in other countries in an attempt to locate suspected terrorists.

    There are terrorists in Germany and China and India and the US?

    The government reportedly does not target internet usage by U.S. citizens and if such data is collected, it is kept under strict controls," reads the poll question.

    How the fuck would CNN know either of those things? Are they party to FISA court documents? Have they read the Justice Departments secret memos containing their legal theories as to how the Executive can do this legally? And what are these "strict controls"?

    "Do you think the Obama administration was right or wrong in gathering and analyzing that internet data?"

    I'll let my good friend, Lex Luthor, answer that question for me.

  • John||

    They don't. It is a worthless question. And worse than what you mention, it never mentions warrantless spying on Americans. They collected every phone call anyone made for years. That is hardly "kept under strict controls". The question makes it sound like they accidentally collect on an American once in a while. See my question above. Ask that and then get back to me with the results.

  • Almanian!||

    66% of my fellow Americans - I hate you, and the thinking that leads to the results in this poll demonstrate why we are DOOOOOOOMED.

    Way to fuck up a good trial in self government. Was great pretty good while it lasted.

  • John||

    We are not doomed. Look at what the poll asked. This poll doesn't mean what you think it does.

  • Almanian!||

    John, we are absofuckinglutely doomed - this poll is not what put us over the edge. We were there anyway.

    I merely use it as another example.

    And PLEASE don't tell me what I understand and don't understand - that's for you and whatshisname to go argue about in interminable threads.

  • John||

    We may be doomed, but this poll is not evidence of it. Once again, read the FUCKING QUESTION

    [F]or the past few years the Obama administration has reportedly been gathering and analyzing information from major internet companies about audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails and documents involving people in other countries in an attempt to locate suspected terrorists. The government reportedly does not target internet usage by U.S. citizens and if such data is collected, it is kept under strict controls,"

    That question is not asking about collecting data on US people. It is asking about collecting data on foreign subjects and then accidentally getting it on US persons.

    And if you don't like me telling you what you don't understand, then stop misunderstanding shit. The poll doesn't mean what you are claiming it does. The question speaks for itself. Stop pretending it says something it doesn't.

  • sam the man||

    I believe he said the poll was just one example of a general trend, not the sole basis for his conclusion. Although I do agree the poll is a pretty shitty example.

  • John||

    the poll is complete bullshit that was made for the single purpose of it being misrepresented in the media so everyone falsely thinks that the public supports this shit.

    If the public actually did support this shit, they wouldn't have asked such a leading question. And it drives me nuts to see people who should know better falling for this poll.

  • sam the man||

    Already been said, but this is a completely meaningless poll. The question was as loaded as I'd suspect from the White House fellating news stations. Just the other day on that godawful Morning Joe show this newsbitch tried to pull the same bullshit on Glenn greenwald and got called on it.

  • CE||

    Another example of the perils of democracy.

  • ||

    Stop pretending [the question] says something it doesn't.

    Uh, John, it says "involving people in other countries" (emphasis mine). That is definitely not the same as "collecting data on foreign subjects and then accidentally getting it on US persons."

    So stop yelling at people READ THE QUESTION ERMAGHERD.

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