Tuesday, June 11, 2013

NSA poll: You are reading the numbers wrong

Everyone is misquoting the Pew poll that finding 54% of Americans support surveillance. That's not what the poll asked. Instead, the poll asked "surveillance or terrorism?".

Consider instead if the poll had asked, as described in this story, whether:
Is it acceptable for the government to monitor all phone records, looking for patterns, even if those numbers have no known connection to terrorism?
Or, consider this story, and the results of a poll that would ask:
Is it acceptable for the government to use monitored phone records in the pursuit of political objectives?
Or, consider stories like this one which points out that Americans are as likely to be killed by furniture as terrorism. Do Americans have a rational appreciation for the risks of terrorism? Or is this something government misleads the public about, in order to justify their actions?

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