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According To YouGov Poll, Snowden Support Declining Among Americans 658

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-at-least-sick-of-the-media-playing-Where's-Waldo dept.
eldavojohn writes "A recent poll from the YouGov consisting of one thousand responses shows that Snowden's support among Americans has shifted. Now, according to the poll, more Americans think he did the wrong thing rather than the right thing when asked: 'Based on what you've heard, do think Snowden's leak of top-secret information about government surveillance programs to the media was the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do?' The results and breakdown are available online (PDF). Without getting into racial or political breakdowns, the results now show that 38% say he did the wrong thing, 33% say he did the right thing and 29% remain undecided about the results of his actions. Instead of charging the populace into action Snowden may be facing apathy at best and public disapproval at worst."
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According To YouGov Poll, Snowden Support Declining Among Americans

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  • hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:17AM (#44207965)

    How about support for prosecuting James Clapper?

    • Re:hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MrNaz (730548) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:31AM (#44208021) Homepage

      Whistleblower: The government is watching you. The wealthy elite are enslaving you. The politicians are oppressing you. These facts are obvious, and I have proof.
      Public: Meh.

      • Re:hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by the.emmef (914877) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:53AM (#44208113)
        You summarized this well, in a way that even sheep should understand ;-)
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 07, 2013 @06:20AM (#44208407)

        Push polls are a sign of fear. They're trying to give the impression that protestors are isolated and thus should be afraid of stepping out line by protesting. If people really didn't care, then you wouldn't need to keep the program secret, and continue to lie about it.

        The details of the economist poll I could not find, only the claimed single question, which is rarely the full story, there's always pre-questions to remove the 'don't know'.

        For example the first poll 'Pew', was heavily loaded with pre-questions to push the person to accept surveillance:

        e..g.
        "Did you follow reports about the government collecting emails and other online activities directly from large internet companies to track foreign suspects in terror investigations very closely,"
        See the "to track foreign suspects in terror investigations" part?

        If I told you the surveillance is everyone for everything (which it is), that's different from tracking a few terror suspects (which it isn't). The loaded questions were only able to just take it above 50%.

        If they're pushing, then its fear.

      • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @06:35AM (#44208451) Journal

        Life for most of us is already complex enough. We know we are in a tiny sinking life raft with an insane incompetent captain on a hostile ocean filled with sharks. If someone then starts to show just how leaky the boat is by poking at its holes... well, they can expect a punch in the face.

        Those that are upset by all the revelations are the people who thought the captain was competent and sane, the ocean was our natural home, the raft an ocean lines and the sharks to be dolphins.

        In reality of course, the spying while much worse then what the dreamers thought is probably in reality far less effective. If it worked, they would be capturing more terrorists and criminals. Most of us in the real world DREAM of an effective secret shadow government ruled by aliens, it would mean that for once somebody intelligent was in charge. Or at least something with a plan. It doesn't matter that the plan is to harvest your organs, at least it is a goddamn plan.

        Take the attitude in the US towards veterans. The average American KNOWS the average US veteran is a war criminal. Plenty of examples even very clear once like the Mai Lai masacre. Point out however that just because someone is a vet, they are therefor NOT automatically worthy of worship and they will spout all sorts of nonsense, even going so far as liberals stating that orders are orders.

        The same people who cry foul (justly so) over Japan worhshipping its war criminals, can't see the tree in their own eye.

        Because it rocks the boat. And people HATE that.

        Ideally people want today to be followed by tomorrow and for it to be not to much worse.

        If you read about daily life in the death camps of the holocaust, the normalcy of it all is the most shocking. Life went on, even if all around you it didn't. The same is true of children raised in the most appalling conditions. Humans adapt, to ANYTHING. It allows us to survive. Both Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett have written about this, we all need to be slightly drunk all the time because if we ever saw the world sober, we would lose our minds.

        Think about this, while you are reading me prattling on, children are being hurt and killed, are dying of hunger RIGHT now and all your are doing is wishing you had mod points to mod me up/down. YOU (and I, because I am prattling on while I could be saving someone) can't deal with the real world all the time.

        And snowden tried to force us to do so, to see the man behind the curtain and we hate him for it. Well not hate, just wish he would go away so we can pretend the world ain't that bad after all.

        Want proof? Red nose day. A british charity event were they gather money through comedy. It is VERY succesful. Because it offsets the horrors for which the money is needed with plenty of entertainment and happy endings to make us forget how horrid it all is. Charity organizers know this, you show a BIT of misery, the photogenic part because if you just show thousands of dead children, nobody would donate anything because nobody would watch. Show however a story of how a child went from carrying water all day to sitting in a happy classroom and you can't accept the donations fast enough.

        Snowden showed us the Auswitz that is our privacy and we can't cope. It is to much, to far. He didn't just rock the boat, he nuked it out of existence. And have us nothing in return. He didn't give us any tools to stop Prism. EVERYONE is in favor. The only ones speaking out against it so far are SOME tea party members and socialist semi-dictators. In Europe NOBODY has spoken out against it.

        We can now either face the full machinations of the system OR wish Snowden went away.

        I am betting on the latter. Because I am a old middle class man who frankly has every bit of fight beaten out of him. I used to be an activist for a local union, then had people who fought me every way demand that they get all the benefits they didn't fight for... let someone else fight this fight. I am done and frankly I can see why some people walk f

        • by davydagger (2566757) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @08:21AM (#44208925)
          I think you lost me with the "Aushcitz" remark, and the concept that the average veteran is a war criminal, soley based on a few examples.

          While I certainly condem the spying, full out, and sympathize with snowden, its extreme.
          • The average veteran in the USA is a war criminal. How is he supposed to demonstrate this fact other than by giving examples? Was Iraq invading the USA? Was Afghanistan? The people who fly the drones, are they fighting people who are attacking the USA?

            The answer to all these things is clearly no. When people volunteer to take part in the US military, they volunteer to travel to some foreign country the other end of the Earth and bomb, snipe and shoot their way through the local populace to achieve extremely vague and open ended "goals" which are self evidently bullshit (bringing freedom or whatever). They volunteer knowing full well what they're going to do, how pointless it all is, and they sign up anyway.

            How Americans go out of their way to engage in hero worship of vets is one of the most troubling and pathetic parts of US culture. You don't see it to anywhere near the same extent in other parts of the world. Maybe people if directly challenged would say "yes I support the troops" because any other answer is picking a fight, but the anti-Iraq-war rallies were the largest anti war protests in recorded history. That shows you what people really think of the military. I'll know there's a chance for the US when a politician gets up and says, "no, I don't support the troops". Not holding my breath.

        • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @09:51AM (#44209435)

          We know we are in a tiny sinking life raft with an insane incompetent captain on a hostile ocean filled with sharks.

          Bad time to be a small furry creature then, eh, a chinchilla perhaps... but I digress. Interesting post what you say is right in some respects, however just because, as you say you dont have any fight left in you, just because things are SNAFU, does not mean you and people like you cannot be passively supportive, which in its own way does help young are more motivated people change the system for the better wherever possible in a peer support kind of way. Of course I am not telling you anything you dont already know - I just thought it worth a minute to prattle on with you out loud because after reading your post, a weak mind might decide that it is all useless and just why bother. Well it is worth the bother, we (some of us) can do our little bit to change our world for the better, roll back injustices, expose powerful corrupt petty self interested people, even in the face off crafty devious "news" like this that is taking questionable methods to arrive and questionable conclusions all in order to tell use what we should be thinking with some semblance of credibility (again, that a weaker mind might buy into). As mentioned elsewhere in this thread - this is here as news right here and now because "they" are afraid, afraid that the curtain has been lifted even for a moment. Afraid that right now an unknown number of young motivated people are doing their little bit to change the status quo. For example all the geeks I can hear right now, frantically coding encryption solutions, plugins and gizmos that give the middle finger to the man, blind him even slightly to other peoples business, and in so doing reduce his absolute power just a tiny fraction (I accept might be overstating the case - maybe not afraid, just a little pissed off).

          Think back through time, England was nothing more than a bunch of lords who owned all the land, all the people on it, everything they ever did, said, married or ate was their business, no privacy from the tax collector. Nothing changed for centuries. Your post is like the old guy sipping (swilling?) on the mead he illegally brewed, the last remnant of his earlier activist self, trying to tell the young uns that yes it sucks the lord can fuck any of their daughters/wives up in the castle whenever he likes, kick the them off the land they work to die next winter because they did not produce enough last year, send them all off uneducated untrained to a die in pointless war that only reinforce the lords holdings, cut off their hands or their tong if they complain about anything... that this is how the world is just accept it dont complain there is no point. There will always be a lord and they are all just dreamers if they think different or that anything can change to better "your lot in life". Look where we are today by comparison only a few short centuries later. Lucky for us all that not everyone took that old guys words as absolute truth.

          the answer your looking for is 42. It is just that the time frame your looking at it is too short so it does not look like the right answer...

      • Re:hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by davydagger (2566757) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @08:17AM (#44208893)
        there is always some dumb hipster to get on facebook, or social media, or in some bar, and go:

        "well the government finds my cute pictures of cats, my kinky texts to my gf, and my like of korean-mexican fusion, so what?"

        To brag to the world he holds no controversial opinions, does no activism, thinks nothing more about fitting into his sister's jeans, foodie obsessions, and the latest pop culture trends and celebrities he worships. Of course the implication is that everyone else is doing bad things, and he's naturually better.

        Its a sole reminder there is a social latter and dissent is a good excuse for competitors in climbing it to kick you down a notch for sticking up for your rights.
  • Terrible news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:20AM (#44207981)

    From The Q&A Snowden had with readers of The Guardian:

    Q: What would you say to others who are in a position to leak classified information that could improve public understanding of the intelligence apparatus of the USA and its effect on civil liberties?
    A: This country is worth dying for.

    Despite this latest poll, I still think Snowden was right. Future generations will hail him as the hero he is. And that's coming from a non-American...

    • Re:Terrible news... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:30AM (#44208019)
      Everyone loves to talk a big game. "This country is worth dying for!" "We'll make America strong!" "We love our country!" are all common phrases that you'll hear at campaign rallies, but how many people are actually willing to step up? As it turns out, very few.

      Hell, most people aren't even willing to see a 1% increase in their taxes in order to fix this nation's problems. Do you really think that anyone is going to risk their job or their life to do the same?
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:47AM (#44208103)

        but how many people are actually willing to step up? As it turns out, very few.

        Which is why guys like Snowden deserve an enormous amount of latitude. The relatively few among us who are willing to put their lives on the line for the causes we give lip-service too deserve our unwavering support.

        • That's just my point. "Our unwavering support" isn't worth a damn thing because "our support" was never existent in the first place.
        • by argStyopa (232550) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @06:48AM (#44208493) Journal

          Nonsense.

          Zealots, psychotics, and sociopaths that have nothing to live for are willing to "give their lives for what they believe in". The simple willingness to die for a cause bears NO weight on the moral quality of the cause, nor on the worthiness of the person.

          History is littered with nutballs who are willing to give their lives for 'a cause'. Unfortunately, they usually convince others to join them, and invariably some non-nutballs die too.

          I know it's all charmingly enthusiastic and romantic to be zealous about a cause but personally I commend American apathy. As we've recently been witness to (repeatedly) the world is FULL of people who are so partisan they are willing to DIE for their local interpretation of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Is that commendable?

          We rightly mock the Byzantines for the Nika riots (in which tens of thousands of people were slain in street violence over the span of a week, largely over which color team they supported). We stand aghast at today's news about a Brazilian referee stabbing a player because he wouldn't leave the pitch (and then the crowd QUARTERED him and left his head on a stake in the center of the pitch). They certainly "cared" a lot about something, so much so that they were willing as a consensual group to murder a man. Shall we canonize them for their dedication to their beliefs?

          America has been accurately characterized as the 'lifeboat from history'. America is where a Jew and an Arab can live next to each other in peace, not brainwashed from birth to destroy each other because of some argument between scruffy goat-herders hundreds of years ago. America is where a Catholic girl can marry a Muslim guy simply because they love each other, and not be bred into fervent hatred because of the faiths of their families. The ESSENCE of this is - dare I say it - an apathy to the fervently-held beliefs and concepts that their parents and homelands were willing to die and kill for.

          Partisans of both extremes like to mock what they call the 'apathetic' center, mainly because we won't (whether the reason is intellectual or mere laziness) join their crazy-train of vituperation, spitting at the "other guys" simply because they're "not us".

          Well, I'm sorry - I refuse to buy your motivational screed that I "must" care about this or that. I refuse to give a shit about whatever happens to get you all riled up, simply because you're agitated. I'll cheerfully go about my life, earn a living, and celebrate my "apathy" because that's one of the things that make this country great.

          I'd stake my life on it.

          • by fnj (64210) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @01:24PM (#44210895)

            A truly interesting point of view. There's a lot to think about there, even if I am a little vague what the "it" is on which you would stake your life.

            I have a bad feeling about your point that (forgive my perhaps presumptuous rephrasing) the sheep can live with the lion in the US because of widespread apathy; of lack of widespread blazing dedication to principles (good or bad). It appears to me that it is an unstable situation. As more and more lions are constantly perversely imported and cloned, their native fierceness will assert itself (and is asserting itself) more and more, while sheep by definition never can learn to defend themselves, and the apathetic prefer to keep their heads in the sand.

            I admit the above is symbolic, and I would rather not give labels to the lions and lambs, but I am sure that i will not deliberately stake my life on a bunch of people who don't care much about any issues being able to hold the lions in check, even if the latter be still (but not necessarily always) a group more limited in numbers.

            I would beg you to consider one thought, if no other. There are not "both extremes". There are a vast many extremes. It never did exactly fit the mold of dichotomy on any very consequential subject, but it is far less so now and getting even less so all the time. The complex of issues is a complex of many polychotomies - but not precisely polychotomies because these are static, and the shifting sands of blazing viewpoints are anything but static.

            Consider that 911 truthers are composed on many who count themselves on the left, many on the right, and many who refuse the false left/right dichotomy. Many of them think the ufo disclosists are crazy; and many agree with them - and vice versa. There are those who see positives in both the tea party and the occupy wall streeters. There is an overlap between socialists and libertarians. The neo conservatives seem to have rejected conservative political beliefs (and may or may not retain conservative economic ideas).

      • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @05:17AM (#44208171)

        most people aren't even willing to see a 1% increase in their taxes in order to fix this nation's problems.

        Tax increases won't fix the campaign corruption, erosion of rights, separation of church and state, nor establish a government who is working for the people. Stop beating that drum.

        • That's not what I meant. I mean that if there was, tomorrow, a tax proposed that would go towards fixing some specific problem, very few people would support it.
          • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @05:48AM (#44208293)

            Very few people would support it, because very few people would believe that the tax money would actually go towards fixing that problem. The government will just spend it however they damn well please, as with anything else.

            And even if the problem was fixed by the tax, they would keep the tax as permanent to spend elsewhere. Many taxes are declared "temporary" only to be made permanent later.

            Maybe it's worth dying for the country, but it sure as hell ain't worth it dying for the politicians.

      • by mwvdlee (775178) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @05:25AM (#44208215) Homepage

        The sad reality of this is that, apparently, telling on a misbehaving government is a risk to ones live.

        The reason people dislike him is, IMHO, because he reminds them of their inability to act on their government.

      • Throwing money at a problem doesn't always fix it.
        Saying that we don't support a tax raise doesn't mean we are not willing to solve the problems. There are so many thing that wants our 1% taxes. That if we add them all up taxes would be a lot higher.
        Often what is really needed is a process change, not more money.

      • by ethanms (319039) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @06:37AM (#44208463)

        Hell, most people aren't even willing to see a 1% increase in their taxes in order to fix this nation's problems.

        It's not that most people aren't willing to give another 1%, it's that we're so pissed off with how wasted and mismanaged the first 20-40% are being handled we can't bare to just heap more on and have it be wasted yet again.

        I'm in the US, when I add up my federal and state income taxes, property tax, sales tax, meal tax, fuel tax, excise tax, as well as all the other little misc. taxes and fees mandated by the government it ends up about 40% of my gross income.

        The government will ALWAYS want just one more percent...

        So please don't confuse people not wanting to pay more taxes with not loving their country, USA or otherwise.

      • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @07:38AM (#44208687)

        Hell, most people aren't even willing to see a 1% increase in their taxes in order to fix this nation's problems.

        Let me get this straight. The problem under discussion is the government recording the trail of every email and phone call, and you think the answer is to give them more money? For what, so that they can do bigger and better tracking?

  • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:28AM (#44208007)
    This isn't terribly shocking. If the last several years have told us anything it's that the American people don't really care if the government abuses its authority. Remember the Nixon scandal? That guy tried to wiretap a *single office* and the only reason that he wasn't impeached is because he resigned before congress could file the impeachment paperwork. Yet, when the government started wiretapping citizens years ago due to "national security" reasons, there was no such uproar. Sure, there were a few people that wanted the president impeached, but there was no real support for it. It's no surprise that the recent news of the wiretapping being larger than we thought has fallen on deaf ears.

    Every single issue over the last couple decades has been met with more and more apathetic responses. The problem is going to get far worse before it gets better.
    • by jbolden (176878)

      Nixon was during a high point of people fighting back against government abuses. Don't forget what came before Nixon and was disclosed about FBI and local police misbehavior.

      • by Livius (318358)

        Part of the problems is that there isn't a second high point of people fighting back against government abuses after the US government invaded and occupied Iraq on false pretences and then collaborated in Wall Street fraud.

        • by jkflying (2190798)

          Are you forgetting the Occupy Wall Street and the (original) Tea Party movements? The government is just much better at derailing protest movements these days than they were back in Nixon's time.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:37AM (#44208055)

      More to the point, who cares what a YouGov poll says?

      YouGov is one of those pollsters that will show whatever you pay them to show by selecting biased samples.

      I believe it was them who at the last general election in the UK on the same day put support for the Liberal Democrats at something like 19% and 29% because two different papers had asked for 2 different poll outcomes to support their chosen supported party (FWIW the actual result was 23% at the election). That's not in the realm of legitimate statistical error margins and is proof of outright biased sampling.

      So the problem is that whilst this may be an independent study it may also not. Given that we know for a fact they do seem to produce results to order it's impossible to tell which of their polls are and aren't biased. The safest option then is to just ignore them or risk being grossly misinformed.

  • No wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:31AM (#44208023)

    ...when you condider the 24/7 anti-Snowdon propaganda in the US-media.

    Shooting the messenger has a long tradition.

  • Shocking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@noSpam.spad.co.uk> on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:32AM (#44208029) Homepage

    Is this really a surprise? Most sections of the media have spent the last month or so trying to portray Snowden as a traitor, who's weakened the national security of several countries, endangered inter-governmental cooperation (because now they know they were all spying on each other rather than just assuming they were), is possibly a bit weird and is now "palling around" with Russian and various South American states who are "enemies of teh freedoms".

    In that context, of course peoples' opinions are going to start to shift.

    • Re:Shocking (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Livius (318358) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @05:39AM (#44208263)

      The public may not have clued in, but the "journalists" are aware they Snowden also outed them for their incompetence and corruption.

  • 5% shift (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbolden (176878) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:32AM (#44208035) Homepage

    Wow does this headline have things reversed.

    Edward Snowden has been subjected to a month long attack campaign. This started with go after his girlfriend for being a pole dancer. It followed with other negative news stories and criticism by major politicians. From there there was a federal espionage indictment. He then had to flee the country and the USA has gone to extraordinary lengths putting pressure on countries to isolate him. The media has been mainly complicit. And after all that is approval rating has dropped a mere 5 points.

    That's the story.

    • Wow does this headline have things reversed.

      Edward Snowden has been subjected to a month long attack campaign. This started with go after his girlfriend for being a pole dancer. It followed with other negative news stories and criticism by major politicians. From there there was a federal espionage indictment. He then had to flee the country and the USA has gone to extraordinary lengths putting pressure on countries to isolate him. The media has been mainly complicit. And after all that is approval rating has dropped a mere 5 points.

      That's the story.

      Submitter here and I'm afraid I'm going to have to outright disagree with you. I just don't see your events lining up with this recent drop in support. You're talking about months old efforts to discredit him that seemed to have little effect on his popularity. If you read the HuffPo article you'll see:

      Much of the drop in support for Snowden's actions since the earlier poll appears to have taken place among Republicans, who were divided, 37 percent to 37 percent, on whether Snowden did the right thing in the previous poll, but in the latest poll said by a 44 percent to 29 percent margin that he did the wrong thing.

      As fallout from his revelations ruin our foreign relations [washingtonpost.com] I think you'll see a lot of conservatives switch positions. This is simply a more plausible explanation. US as a power player in world politics and economics is simply higher on some people's agendas then their own damned privacy.

      • by Lennie (16154)

        What I don't understand is how the a poll with only 1000 people could be somehow regarded as representative for 300.000.000+ people.

        A poll of a 1000 people isn't even thought of as representative for my country which only has 16.000.000+ people.

        That is what the first comment should have been about.

        These types of things tell me how people in the US have lost touch with reality, please, please be more critical of the media and everything else. Apply more common sense.

  • by detain (687995) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:33AM (#44208037) Homepage
    now that they know they are being monitored and showing him favor might get them on a watch list.
  • I'd have thought that it was pretty much axiomatic to anyone that's spent any appreciable time surfing the intarwubz that e-fame is horribly fleeting. Andy Warhol's 15 minutes in web 3.0 terms is down to about three, and you've already wasted two on the ads. During this entire evolution, many people that have been paying attention for a bit have mentioned people like Klein, Manning, Drake, Thompson, Gilmore, Rivest, Schneier, and many other Names any security researcher ought to be intimately familiar wit

  • by the.emmef (914877) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:34AM (#44208047)
    By continuously shifting the attention away in the media from the human rights violations to what Snowdon is doing now (sitting on an airport) or did (show that the government is acting outside the law) people get bored. And especially since the violations of Americans' own rights is covered by law (that is implemented in a completely unaccountable way, though) the American people forget even more. But the European people - not their politicians, of course - are furious. If one chooses to be a diplomat or a politician, one knows there will be eavesdropping. But when I write a letter to someone, a foreign government that is supposed to be an allie should stay the f**k out of my mail: paper and electronic alike. Of course, I'm also blaming the United Kingdom. The western world induces terrorism itself by performing terrorism in other parts of the world. Conquer and divide. Give them weapons, let them fight each other as long as our companies' interests are ensured. Shoot people on flimsy evedence with a drone, without a trial, in countries we're not at war with. And the bloddy mess (innocent civilians) is a don't care. They are not our boys, but theirs. No wonder people start to fight back. People like Snowdon and Bradley Manning are necessary to show that politicians commit war crimes, blackmail countries and violate every possible law that's about humanity. That is because they act not in our interests (the public, the believed to be free people) but in the interest of big companies. Who also happen to own the media. And there goes your information, your well informed opinion and as a result yout humanity. The trend that you're seeing in this article is indifference. Governments are lobby clubs that lie to their people and allies alike. And they succeed.
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @05:29AM (#44208229)

    'Based on what you've heard ...

    All this tells us is that people will change their opinion depending on what "the news" tells them. Spin a story one way and you've got a hero. Put a different emphasis on it and you create a villain.

    Maybe if the truth came out, and was laid before the public with no interpretation, value judgements or commentary they would be in a position to make up their own mind (sometimes I just can't help but laugh as I'm writing this stuff) and come to a conclusion of their own.

  • by sirwired (27582) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @05:36AM (#44208251)

    When the story first broke, I believed Snowden was a hero. This was when the leaked information was regarding legally-questionable, at best, domestic spying on it's own citizens.

    The leaks since then have shown that Snowden isn't just "blowing the whistle", he's leaking whatever details he could carry on whatever electronic intelligence programs he could get his hands on. It's not as if it should have come as a big shock to him (or anybody) that the NSA spies on the communications of foreign countries; that's kind of what we created the NSA for, and it's what we pay intelligence agencies for in general.

  • Apathy is far worse than disapproval. It would show that the American public has, indeed, degraded into a few hundred million Homer and Marge Simpsons who only care about consumption. If apathy with regard to the Snowden case were indeed to become the prevailing sentiment, it would show that the American public DOES merit a surveillance state. Remember: every nation gets the leadership it merits.
  • When he first started he was talking about the government spying on regular american people, and the public was sympathetic to him. Then instead of stopping there he started talking about the US spying on other countries. The problem there is nothing unconstitutional about the US spying overseas and revealing this did not protect americans. There is a big difference between whistleblowing about misconduct towards americans and leaking top secret memos regarding foreign intelligence operations.

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @07:29AM (#44208643)

    Maybe the slide in the polls for Snowden isn't apathy (although I'm sure that's some of it), but instead all of these new leaks. At first he was a whistle blower telling the American people that their government was spying on them and he had wide support. But now, the leaks are about foreign governments and people don't think that is right.

    Here is the question. When Snowden first went public, both he and the NSA said that he didn't have the kind of information that has been leaked lately that has discredited him. So, either he and the NSA both lied or one of them is telling the truth and the other is intentionally leaking non-critical information to make him look bad.

    While I have no reason to trust Snowden. I have even less to trust a government who a month before he went public proclaimed that it was not gathering intelligence information on the American public. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @09:18AM (#44209235) Homepage
    The media is a PR machine for the government and big business so Snowden can't get a fair shake in the news (at least in the US). A lot of Americans can't grasp the idea that someone might want to live outside of the US. Hearing this guy might end up living in places like Russia, Venezuela and Nicaragua will make people think he must be evil because those are evil places full of evil people.

    Too many Americans are nationalistic and not patriotic. They love the shit the government shovels them.
  • by epine (68316) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:23PM (#44212009)

    I became interested in the history of code breaking and surveillance in the late 1970s, even before The Puzzle Palace permanently breached the NSA's public anonymity.

    I don't get the public furor because there's nothing new here: what Snowden revealed is just a logical extension of how this program has always operated, as documented since way back for anyone who wanted to know. It has always been part of the anonymity construct that the NSA could purport (or purport by implication) that it operated within the groove of democratic principles, up to a point. The old relationship with the British (I'll watch yours, if you watch mine) was always a burden, but I guess that burden must have been manageable for a time.

    Once COTS technology (Cisco, Nortel, Lucent, Alcatel, Juniper) begins to outpace the astrobuck edge, the NSA is forced by brutal practicalities to review and revise their anonymity construct. Just how much can be exchanged through a stiff-upper-lip tea service?

    At this point, the NSA's democratic cloak is outright risible: any foreign person, anyone whose patterns of contact with such people is vaguely suspicious (there has never been a shortage of suspicion where suspicion greases operational desires) and anyone who crosses paths in any way with this substantial kernel of the vaguely suspicious, citizenship be damned. We're more than halfway along the spectrum of seven degrees.

    Suppose we apply the principles of differential cryptanalysis to this interesting social network. Suppose there is some American citizen not yet trawled by this social graph of chance connection. What's the least amount of suspicion one must inject at some chosen suspicion-coloured node of this graph for a tentacle to slop out of the bucket to engulf the arbitrary citizen of the moment? Once engulfed, does this person ever escape this webbing ever again on principles of liberty and freedom or is this person's only democratic salvation to fall beneath some metric of cost/benefit in keeping his or her node active in the vast suspicion graph? How much easier is it for a person to be bumped back into this mesh once you've been on it before? Does that scarlet letter ever fall off?

    I doubt there's anyone in America whose nose is so clean that ten minutes of brow-drenched pretext-manufacture by some nearby NSA staffer with any prospect of future promotion wouldn't serve to lasso this person onto the suspicion list by some ready-to-hand agency criterion (a clean nose for this purpose is mainly established by not getting out much except on Sunday morning, not using email, and never answering your telephone when pestered by a wrong number).

    That's pretty much the minimal operation capability they would settle for, no matter which democratic cover story of the day hits the news cycle. I doubt they ever expected that a program as large as this could maintain cover of darkness indefinitely. So the real response and public optics is mainly for consumption inside the Faraday cage: the Snowden meme is not one they wish to see take root among their own.

    It's a basic tenant of military or police training to punish the group on the pretext of individual lapses, failure, or sloth until the group is conditioned to self police. Wouldn't be surprised if everyone in the entire agency is working unpaid overtime on invented files (as in The Firm) until Snowden is brought to Faraday justice. I get the internal furor loud and clear.

  • by proverbialcow (177020) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @06:18PM (#44212573) Journal

    Instead of charging the populace into action Snowden may be facing apathy at best and public disapproval at worst.

    I'm pretty sure he's facing far worse than apathy and public disapproval.

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington

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