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Tech and the State
Millennials Are Fans of the NSA

Despite what civil libertarians like Glenn Greenwald might wish, a new survey shows that the NSA’s political future is safe with young adults. Here’s Pew with the numbers, h/t Allahpundit:

Favorability ratings for the National Security Agency (NSA) have changed little since the fall of 2013, shortly after former NSA analyst Edward Snowden’s revelations of the agency’s data-mining activities. About half (51%) view the NSA favorably, compared with 37% who have an unfavorable view.

Young people are more likely than older Americans to view the intelligence agency positively. About six-in-ten (61%) of those under 30 view the NSA favorably, compared with 40% of those 65 and older.

We’ve often said that American public opinion on civil liberties swings with the times. In times of low-threat peace, Americans clamor for privacy and government restrictions. In times of war, they are comfortable with, even perhaps desirous of, restrictions on liberty. But though that cycle will likely continue to drag American politics first one way, then the other, it may be that there’s a more permanent generational shift going on. Perhaps younger Americans, weaned on Facebook and Twitter and other low-privacy internet tools, simply don’t care as much about civil liberties as traditionally understood. They might be much more comfortable trading privacy for services or protections they like than their parents ever were.

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  • JohnThackr

    This is almost certainly an artifact of who trusts President Obama. Opinions on the NSA as polled by Pew massively switched within a year or two of the Presidency changing from GWB to Obama. There are undoubtedly Republicans who don’t trust it because Obama is running it, and Democrats who trust it because Obama says it’s fine.

  • qet

    Yes, well, this just in from Davos:

    “Anthony Goldbloom, a young tech entrepreneur, told the same panel that what he termed the “Google generation” placed far less weight on their privacy than previous generations. I trade my privacy for the convenience. Privacy is not something that worries me,” he said.”Anyway, people often behave better when they have the sense that their actions are being watched.”

    So basically we have failed as a nation, as was foretold.

    • Corlyss

      How do you read “failure” in that?

      • qet

        Because I do not believe that a democratic republic like ours was intended to be can survive the prevalence of an attitude like the Davos guy’s. It goes beyond just the NSA, although on that score, I feel you are short-sighted in your view of the necessity of the ever-widening scope of the NSA’s surveillance practices.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Young people who are nonchalant about government snooping in their lives for the supposed goal of controlling Islamic terrorists may have become so engrossed in Facebook and Twitter that their brains are fried.

    • Corlyss

      I don’t doubt you are right. I think the young, to the extent the poll is accurate, arrived at the right conclusion for a lot of wrong reasons in all likelihood. People who sext really have little about self to hide – they want it all hanging out there, the Oprahfication of the society. The ambiguous public attitudes toward exposing everything, including their gall bladder scars, to the world in their effort to find community where there would otherwise be none, but uncertainty about how much the NSA should be allowed to see, spells breathing room for the electorate to forget about the idiotic security views of the whining left.

      • FriendlyGoat

        I know that most young people would find it very boring to be hanging out here at TAI with the likes of “us”, but I seriously do wish we had some of them here—-for our benefit and theirs. If they were here, they might even learn to be GLAD that many of us oldsters skip entertaining each other with sexts and just send (mostly) complete sentences instead.

        Meanwhile, Oprahfication?

        • Corlyss

          I know. Imagine my delight with a couple of young people I know who don’t use “like” “you know” and “man” every third word, actually like dense, written texts like books in hard copy ,and don’t write “c u l8r” even in their texts. Some I know even revel in words and word play. I delighted one by giving her a copy of Webster’s Dictionary of Synonyms. And she is a veterinarian!
          I think we do have some 20-somethings here – on the staff. I haven’t been that impressed with their thought processes as they have been displayed here.

  • Corlyss

    I’m 69 and I trust the NSA almost implicitly. Nobody yet has shown me any damage done to ordinary citizens by the NSA, while I have seen first hand damage done by the bad guys the Church Committee didn’t think were as bad as the NSA. The NSA does a necessary job in the real world. It’s an evil menace in the Utopian Santa Claus-y universe of the naïve, Democrats, and the childlike who think men should make war like puppies and kittens. The problem with the NSA is two fold: 1) there too many people who don’t understand the nature of the world we live in; and 2) at this point we know too much about what it does to be useful in our roles as stewards of the Republic. Perhaps the smartest thing Obama has done is badmouth the NSA and left it alone to do its damn job policy-wise. I dunno. There’s still two years left on his sentence – he could still mess it up beyond redemption.

  • Boritz

    Raid their text messages and reveal to Amber what Becky said Todd told Gregg that Kaitlyn said to Melanie about him and see if they are still fans of electronic snooping.

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