“This is something that’s not our place to decide. The public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong,” Edward Snowden told Glen Greenwald in a video released by The Guardian on June 9 after it published classified surveillance programs such as PRISM.”
Yet, the American public does not seem to share Snowden’s enthusiasm about their right to privacy. According to a Pew Poll, more than half of the American public is accepting of the NSA’s phone tracking system as a means of terrorism prevention and believe that thwarting terrorist attacks trumps civilian privacy, as opposed to 41% who do not approve of the NSA’s phone tracking.
“Most Americans are looking at this with kind of a shrug,” radio host Matt Miller said on Wednesday’s The Cycle. “They kind of assumed it was going on already…and I agree.”
The Patriot Act was enacted more than a decade ago, before the advent of programs like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media changed the landscape of how Americans share their personal information to oftentimes absolute strangers. In Miller’s recent article in The Washington Post, he described having searched “secret” on the Internet and advertisements for secret deodorant suddenly appeared, illustrating how our internet cookies are remembering what we have searched in the past and learning more about us.
A study done by Cambridge University this year found that Facebook user “likes” on a website can divulge intimate details about a person– details such as sexual orientation, personality attributes, and IQ level.
“I’d like Google and Facebook to explain their algorithms,” Matt Miller said. “How they roll up our information, monetize it, sell it to advertisers…If we actually knew what they were doing I think we’d find it as creepy as some of the government stuff.”