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Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Do Americans support tracking phone records?

The Pew poll is being reported by news organizations, and by Pew, in a very misleading manner. Here's Pew's headline, and the way it's being reported: "Majority Views NSA Phone Tracking as Acceptable Anti-terror Tactic"

But the actual poll reads: "NSA getting secret court orders to track millions of Americans to investigate terrorism is acceptable/not acceptable/don't know"

56% of people polled answered acceptable to that question, which has one huge lie and one huge bias. The lie is that NSA is getting secret court orders to track millions of Americans; they are doing no such thing. They are gathering phone records on every Verizon customer (and, presumably, other phone companies as well, although that isn't on the record yet). From what we know (which may itself be a lie), a court order is required only to obtain the content of those calls, not to "track" them (i.e., the metadata). And, additionally, there is the huge bias in that question of the ending phrase "to investigate terrorism."

A simpler question: "Is it acceptable for the NSA to collect data on every single call you make - to whom it was made, where you were when you made it, and how long you spoke," was not asked.

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