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nsaWhat does our general public really think of recently exposed government surveillance programs? Does it invade privacy? Does it protect us from terrorists? Do they have any idea what I’m talking about?

GeekWire took to the streets, ferries, aquariums, and piers of downtown Seattle to get a quick glimpse of some reactions from American citizens.

Whether it’s the exposure of government and National Security Agency snooping programs by Edward Snowden, or the house refusing to cut funds for the NSA in a close vote yesterday, these events have been all over the news. And, although it seems to be not quite as popular as the news of the royal baby, we were glad to get a sense of people’s stance on this current issue.

Here is the question that we asked: How do you feel about NSA and government surveillance programs?

Dominic Plumbing
Dominic Plumbing

And here are the interesting responses that this question generated:

Dominic Palumbo, Detroit: “I don’t like it. I think it violates the 4th Amendment to the Constitution. I totally understand going after terrorists, but you don’t treat everyone as a criminal. Just like the TSA.”

Mike and Nicole Rogers, Seattle.

The Rogers
Nicole and Mike Rogers

Mike Rogers: “Regarding just specifically surveillance of people? Um, I actually haven’t been following too much. I work at the cancer center, and I normally don’t get caught up in that stuff. I don’t know. I just haven’t been following things outside of that. Well, I understand their side, what they are trying to do, but I mean, where do you draw the line? It gets into people’s personal life. Shoot, I mean, they could have a satellite looking at us from space right now. I mean it’s just becoming more public, and they’ve always been watching.”

Nicole Rogers: “Well the problem is technology. When you have more and more technology, it invades more and more of your space. Just take all of the technology away, if the terrorists and us have all the same technology, we have to constantly one-up them. And what does a terrorist really look like?”

Ivy Oistad

Ivy Oistad, Seattle: “Well, honestly, it’s just one of those things where I look a little bit at it, but haven’t been paying too close of attention to it. And I know a lot of my friends are all up in arms about it, and it’s not something I can really talk about until I’ve done more research. I haven’t really looked deeply enough to know that I would take a particular side over another.”

Brandon Lancer
Brandon Lancer

Brandon Lancer, Seattle: “I really have no opinion because I don’t know enough about it. Personally, I wouldn’t care if they’re looking at my emails because I have nothing to hide. It’s like, what could you possibly be hiding from the government? If you are that concerned about the security of your email, what is it you don’t want other people seeing?”

Aiden Johnson, Seattle: “I think that they shouldn’t be allowed to look through your emails because they could kill thousands of people.”  

Brian Jones
Brian Jones

Brian Jones, Portland: “Well I’m not really too caught up on it to be honest with you. I would say it is probably invading people’s privacy, but also it’s maybe a little necessary to keep our security safe. I’m just not sure what to do with this Snowden guy. I mean, he could be anywhere in the world right now, but I feel like we have to bring him back.”

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