A new poll has revealed that Americans believe US President Barack Obama’s proposed changes to US spying programs will not address their concerns.
The recent USA Today/Pew Research poll, released on Monday, shows 73 percent of those who have heard about Obama’s speech about reforms to Washington’s spying activities believe the proposed reforms will do little to protect their privacy. On Friday, Obama delivered a much-anticipated speech at the Department of Justice, introducing some changes to US intelligence-gathering practices. However, privacy rights advocates, like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and tech firms immediately criticized his proposed reforms, saying they are just half-measures that would leave the spying programs virtually untouched. Monday’s poll also shows that half of those surveyed have heard nothing at all about Obama’s proposed changes and the majority of those who have heard about his speech believe his new spying plan would neither protect their privacy nor help the US fight terrorism.   Obama’s speech was a direct result of revelations made by whistleblower Edward Snowden that altered the US government’s relationship with its own citizens and the rest of the world. The USA Today/Pew Research survey showed 53 percent of Americans are opposed to their government’s collection of their phone and Internet data. Snowden’s leaks have showed, among other things, how the National Security Agency collects phone records of all American citizens and tracks the use of US-based web servers by all people around the world. His revelations also showed the US government eavesdropped on phone calls of at least 35 world leaders, spied on Russia’s leadership with the help of Sweden, spied on the 2010 G8 and G20 summits in Toronto as well as the 2009 G20 summit in London with the help of the host countries’ governments. Snowden has already said that his “mission’s already accomplished” because he “wanted to give the society a chance to determine if it should change itself.” Monday’s poll showed 45 percent of Americans say Snowden’s leaks served the public interest while 43 percent think they harmed it.