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Americans Willing to Give Up Some Freedoms for Security

Public fine with surveillance cameras, not fine with email snooping

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 6, 2011 9:21 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Americans are willing to give up some privacy and freedoms for security—but not others. A new AP poll has charted just which freedoms Americans are partial to. For example:

  • 71% are OK with surveillance cameras in public places
  • 58% are fine with full-body scans and pat-downs at the airport
  • 47% favor a national ID card
  • 35% approve of ethnic or racial profiling at the airport
  • 30% support monitoring emails without a warrant
  • 25% back eavesdropping on domestic phone calls without a warrant

Americans are, however, a lot more forgiving when it comes to spying on foreigners—47% are OK with snooping on emails between people outside the US, for example. It should be noted, however, that 46% of the AP’s respondents said that, if forced to choose, they’d pick security from terrorists over their rights—a far cry from the 25% willing to do so in last week’s Gallup poll.

This photo taken June 29, 2011, shows a security camera at Portland's reservoir No. 6 in Mount Tabor Park in Portland, Ore.
This photo taken June 29, 2011, shows a security camera at Portland's reservoir No. 6 in Mount Tabor Park in Portland, Ore.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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