NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Community News Network

December 25, 2013

Americans uneasy about surveillance but often use snooping tools

WASHINGTON — Julie Beliveau's 16-year-old daughter, a new driver, was heading from her home in Ashburn, Va. toward a job interview the other night when she found herself in Leesburg, Va. — the wrong direction entirely. Upset and fearing that she'd blow the interview, she called her mother, who instantly launched her tracking program.

"I just opened my phone, and I could see where she was," Beliveau said. Mother guided daughter to the interview, where she got the job. Score one for surveillance.

Yet Beliveau says she would never use the program just casually to check her daughter's whereabouts. "That's going over the line," she said.

Amid this year's revelations about the federal government's vast apparatus for tracking the movements and communications of people worldwide, Americans are uneasy with the extent of surveillance yet often use snooping tools in their own lives, a Washington Post poll has found.

The sweet spot between liberty and security has been hard to pinpoint ever since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. Remarkable advances in information technology have enabled counterterrorism tactics far more sweeping and intrusive — and powerful — than the United States had ever deployed. At the same time, the relationship between consumers and businesses was elementally altered as mobile phones, GPS, Google and Facebook gave corporations a new capacity to track their customers' behavior.

This year, in the months since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked secret documents detailing U.S. surveillance programs, it has become clear that there are not yet widely accepted norms about who may watch whom and when and where tracking is justified. The Washington Post's poll found that Americans' attitudes about surveillance are anything but consistent, whether the sample is the entire nation or a single, conflicted person.

1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network

Offbeat
NDN Video
Grumpy Cat Not Impressed at "Idol" Is Shaquille O'Neal the World's Best Ex-Athlete? Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 2 BASE Jumpers Set World Record Screaming 2-year-old gets psyched at Penguins game Pineda: Put pine tar because he didn't want to hit anyone Beyonce on Her Biggest Influence Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Clerk catches on fire after man throws Molotov Cocktail into Brooklyn store Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans