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Transatlantic Majorities Oppose Domestic Surveillance

Transatlantic Majorities Oppose Domestic Surveillance

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This piece describes European and U.S. publics' attitudes toward wire-tapping and other surveillance.
This piece describes European and U.S. publics' attitudes toward wire-tapping and other surveillance.

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Published by: German Marshall Fund of the United States on Nov 12, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/12/2013

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Summary:
While the NSA surveil-lance scandal made headlines in Europe and the United States, its effect on the transatlantic relationship remains ambiguous. Respondents opposed surveil-lance carried out by any govern-ment, including their own. Opposition was generally very high: there was not a majority in any country that approved of government surveillance, and pluralities or majorities said it
was not justied in every country
polled.
A
Transatlantic Trends
Issue Poll
rends Brie 
 Transatlantic Majorities Oppose Domestic Surveillance
by Constanze Stelzenmüller and Josh Raisher 
1744 R Street NW Washington, DC 20009 1 202 683 2650 F 1 202 265 1662 E ino@gmus.org
November 2013
Recriminations have been flying back and orth across the Atlantic since early June, when allegations were published in several newspapers that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) had, through a program called PRISM, been monitoring the phone and internet communica-tion o Americans and Europeans — ofen with the assistance o global telecommu nications, social media, and internet service provider companies. Edward Snowden, the ormer NSA employee who was the source o much o the disclosed classified inorma-tion, was publicly identified on June 9, 2013. Te issue has been the ocus o U.S. and European headlines since, and the debate heated up once more afer revelations in October that the communications o millions o French citizens had been tapped — along with the cell phone o German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Consequently, the
Transatlantic Trends
 program conducted a brie issue poll online in five countries to probe public  views about surveillance.
1
1 The poll was conducted separately from
Transatlantic Trends
 2013, whose eldwork was already under way at
the time (June 3-27).
TRANSATLANTIC MAJORITIES OPPOSE DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE PROGRAMS
In this question, respondents were asked: “Do you think the [own country] government is justified in collecting the telephone and internet data o its citizens as part o the effort to protect national security, or do you think this activity goes too ar in  violating citizens’ privacy and is there-ore not justified?”Majorities on both sides o the Atlantic, and a plurality in the United Kingdom, said that surveillance carried out by national governments o their own citizens, even as part o an effort to protect national security, was not justified. Germans registered the strongest opposition: 70% said that it was not justified, while 25% disagreed. French, Swedish, and British respon-dents were most likely to say that domestic surveillance was justified (35%, 34%, and 33%, respectively).Americans ell roughly in the middle. wenty-eight percent elt that the use o surveillance by governments against their own citizens is justified, more than in Germany (25%), while 54% said that it is not justified, more than in Sweden (52%), France (52%), or Great Britain (44%). Eighteen percent
 
A
Transatlantic Trends
 Issue Poll
rends Brie 
2
70545252442528353433518131423
020406080100
GermanyU.S.FranceSwedenUnitedKingdom
       P     e     r     c     e     n      t
Don't know
JustifiedNot justified
Q2. Do you think the [COUNTRY'S] government is justified in collecting the telephone and internet data of its citizens as par
t of
the effort to protect national security, or do you think this activity goes too far in violating citizens' privacy and is the
refore not
Majorities Oppose Surveillance by Own Government
 
72555544432030273330815182227
020406080100GermanyFranceSwedenU.S.UnitedKingdom
       P     e     r     c     e     n      t
... And by Allied Governments
Don't know
JustifiedNot justified
Q3. And how about citizens of allied countries? Do you think national governments are justified in collecting the telephone a
nd
internet data of citizens in other allied countries as part of the effort to protect national security, or do you think this
activity
goes too far in violating individuals' privacy and is therefore not justified?
 
A
Transatlantic Trends
 Issue Poll
rends Brie 
3
o U.S. respondents said that they did not know i it is or is not justified.
…AND FEEL THE SAME ABOUT SURVEILLANCE IN ALLIED COUNTRIES
In this question, respondents were asked: “And how about citizens o allied countries? Do you think national govern-ments are justified in collecting the telephone and internet data in other allied countries as part o the effort to protect national security, or do you think this activity goes too ar in violating citizens’ privacy and is thereore not justified?”Respondents elt similarly about surveillance carried out by governments o citizens in other allied countries, with majorities or pluralities responding that it is not justified. Again, Germans expressed the strongest opposition, with 72% saying it is not justified and 20% saying it is. wo significant differences are apparent. Americans were more likely to see surveillance o oreign citizens as justified: 33% responded that it is — more than in any other country. Nonetheless, 44% o Americans responded that surveillance in allied countries is not justified. Swedish respondents, on the other hand, were less likely to say that surveillance was justified when carried out in allied countries: 27% o Swedes said that it was, while 34% said the same o domestic surveillance. Fify-five percent o Swedes said that it was not, compared to 52% who said the same o domestic surveillance.French and British respon-dents were, afer Americans, the most likely to say that surveillance o citizens in allied countries is justified (both 30%).
TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONSHIP LARGELY STABLE
Te national phone surveys or
Transatlantic Trends
 2013 showed that the transatlantic relationship has remained stable, or the most part, over the past decade. Pluralities in both Europe and the United States have said that they would like the relationship to become closer or remain the same, while minorities have said that they would preer that their country take a more independent approach. Te distribution o opinions represented in the online September poll is very similar. Tirteen percent o British respondents said that the relationship should become closer, while only 26% said that the European Union should take a more independent approach. wenty-six percent said that they did not know. In France, 27% said that the relation-ship should become closer, 23% said the relationship should remain about the same, and 33% said that the EU should take a more independent approach. Seventeen percent said that they did not know. wenty-three percent o Swedish respondents and 15% o German respondents said that the relationship should become closer. In Sweden, 26% said the relationship should stay about the same; 34% o Germans agreed. Tirty-two percent o Swedes and 44% o Germans said the EU should take a more independent approach in the transatlantic diplomacy and security partnership.
271315232423353426283326443223020406080100FranceUnited KingdomGermanySwedenU.S.
       P     e     r     c     e     n      t
Transatlantic Relationship Remains Stable
Should take a more
independentapproachShould remain thesameShould becomecloser
Q1:Do you think that the partnership in security and diplomatic affairs between the U.S. and the EU should become closer, sho
uld
remain about the same, or should the EU/U.S. take a more independent approach from the U.S./EU?

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