Politics Magazine

Public Is Not Buying In To Obama's NSA Spying Changes

Posted on the 24 January 2014 by Jobsanger
Public Is Not Buying In To Obama's NSA Spying Changes (This caricature of President Obama is by DonkeyHotey.)
A few weeks ago Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the NSA's spying on American citizens. And while many didn't like what Snowden did, most Americans were shocked at the abuse by the NSA of the Patriot Act and the extent of their spying on American citizens (something we were assured would not happen when the law was passed).
Stung by the revelation of the massive spying, President Obama recently assured Americans that he was making changes to the program that would protect the privacy rights of Americans. Unfortunately, the "changes" proposed by the president amounted to nothing more than window dressing. The government will still have access to whatever information it wants, that access will still be secret, and citizens will not be able to know if or when they are being speed upon. In short, there is absolutely no reason to believe any privacy rights will be protected.
The president was just trying to soothe voters, while leaving the vast spying apparatus in tact. But the American people aren't as stupid as he evidently thought they were. The results of a new survey by the Pew Research Center (done between January 15th and 19th of 1,504 nationwide adults, with a margin of error of 2.9 points) shows a huge majority of the American public doesn't believe the proposed changes will do anything to protect citizen privacy rights.
Public Is Not Buying In To Obama's NSA Spying Changes Note also that this refusal to believe those changes will protect privacy rights crosses all political lines. Republicans (86%), Independents (78%), and Democrats (56%) all have significant majorities believing the changes will make no difference. And there is a vast 52 point difference between those in the public at large who say it will make no difference (73%) and those who think it will offer protection for rights (21%).
President Obama's attempt to reassure the public has failed. And even more important perhaps, it has also failed to stem the growing tide of opposition to the NSA spying program. Note in the chart below that opposition to the NSA spying has grown in the last few months in every demographic group. Personally, I hope this opposition continues to grow. Maybe then we can finally get rid of the odious (and unconstitutional) Patriot Act.
Public Is Not Buying In To Obama's NSA Spying Changes

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