Share

POLITICS: PennAve

Poll: 73 percent say Obama NSA reforms won't boost privacy

|
Politics,White House,Barack Obama,Polls,National Security,PennAve,NSA,Surveillance,Meghashyam Mali,Privacy

A poll released Monday found more Americans disapprove of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, and more than seven in ten say President Obama's announced reforms will do little to address their privacy concerns.

The new USA Today/Pew Research poll found Obama's Friday speech failed to make a mark with the public. Nearly half of those surveyed said they heard nothing about the speech, with 41 percent saying they had heard a little about Obama's reforms and 8 percent saying they heard a lot.

Seventy-three percent who knew of Obama's proposals said his NSA changes won't do anything to increase privacy protections, with 21 percent saying the reforms will work.

The poll found that by a 70-to-26 percent split, Americans said they should not have to give up their privacy to prevent terrorism.

Of those familiar with Obama's speech, 13 percent said the proposals will make it harder to fight terrorism, with 79 percent not expecting any difference.

The poll highlights the challenges facing the Obama administration and lawmakers as they look to balance privacy concerns with national security and reform the NSA's surveillance programs.

A majority, 53 percent, now disapprove of the NSA's spying programs, with 40 percent in favor.

That marks a shift since polls taken last summer -- after Edward Snowden leaked documents detailing the government's secret monitoring and collection of phone and internet traffic -- that showed that a majority still backed the programs.

In a long-awaited speech on Friday, Obama announced a number of steps, including requiring a secret-court warrant before the NSA can access phone call metadata and calling for the justice department to recommend options for storing that information outside of the government.

Obama also is creating a panel of privacy advocates to argue for civil liberties before secret intelligence courts and will stop U.S. spying on leaders of friendly nations.

Critics of the NSA say Obama’s changes will do little to rein in the agency and are vowing to push ahead with tougher restrictions. But supporters of the programs hailed Obama’s decision to keep the surveillance in place. The president broadly defended the NSA, saying that it helped prevent terror threats and that its employees carried out their surveillance in a lawful manner.

The heads of the House and Senate intelligence panels, though, expressed concerns over Obama’s plans to shift collected metadata out of the hands of the government.

The poll also showed the public narrowly split on Snowden, with 45 percent saying his disclosures served the public interest and 43 percent seeing harm. A majority, though, at 56 percent to 32 percent, still want the government to pursue criminal charges against the former contractor.

The poll had a 3-point margin of error.

View article comments Leave a comment