Half of those surveyed by Pew Research and USA Today, said they heard nothing about the changes the president proposed and 41 percent said they heard just a bit about them. Among other things, Obama proposed curbing the ability of intelligence agencies to access phone records as well as moving that collected data out of the hands of the government. And he said that even data collected abroad about non-Americans should be deleted after a predetermined period and its use be limited to specific counter-terrorism and cybersecurity applications.
Of the 1,504 adults surveyed between January 15 and 19, approval of the data collection program disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has fallen to 40 percent now down from 50 percent approval in July. More than half of the respondents (53 percent) disapprove of the program now, up from 44 percent in July.
As to whether what Snowden did was good or bad, respondents were divided. Forty five percent said the leaks served the public interest while 43 percent said they were harmful. But more than half (56 percent) said they thought the feds should “pursue a criminal case” against Snowden while a third (32 percent) did not want that to happen.
Snowden remains in Russia while the reverberations of his disclosures — that U.S. tech companies including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo aided the NSA’s data collection program — wittingly or not — continue to be reverberate. European cloud providers, for example, are pushing EU clouds as a safer alternatives for customer data. Meanwhile, several of the U.S. tech companies affected said Obama’s recommendations were fine as far as they went, but they didn’t go far enough.