August 2018 – A Pew Research study found that, following the news coverage concerning former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, the American view of government surveillance underwent a rapid evolution. The study was conducted over the years since the Snowden leak in 2013.
The number of Americans who disapproved of the government’s collection of telephone and Internet data has increased from 47% to 53%. Of those who were aware of government surveillance programs, 34% said they had taken steps to protect their data from the government.
About 82% said it was acceptable for the government to monitor communications of suspected terrorists, and 60% said it was acceptable to monitor communications of American and foreign leaders. However, 57% of Americans said it was unacceptable for the government to monitor the communications of U.S. citizens.
About four in ten said they were concerned about government monitoring of their activity on search engines, email messages, and cell phones. About three in ten expressed the same concern over monitoring of their activity on social media and mobile apps.