SOC 100: Intro to Sociology
On Sep 27th 2017 there was an article posted on the Pew Research Center website. The article asks what percent of Americans think the U.S. government is monitoring their phone calls and emails. In the study it broke down who was asked and how they responded by sex, age, education, and political leaning. Along with wondering who thinks the government is listening in on them, the survey also found out if people think it is acceptable to monitor other individuals besides just U.S. citizens, like non-U.S. citizens, American leaders, leaders of other countries, and terrorism suspects.
The type of research method used to find out this information was a survey. I couldn’t find anywhere in the article that stated how the survey was conducted but if I had to guess, I would say it was an online survey. Before you’re able to read the questions, it would ask you to describe yourself by your sex, age, education level, and political party of choice. Once they had all the information they collected the sorted the data into table that make it easy to read and understand.
The survey had many interesting findings. The one that stands out the most is that 7/10 Americans think the government is spying on them. Why is that? Do people just distrust their government? Another interesting discovery is the difference between young and older people. I think this has something to do with the fact that older people still just don’t fully understand technology. Kids these days grow up with all this crazy technology around them and are used to it. For older people it’s still foreign and unimaginable. Another conclusion that was drawn from this survey was the fact that people with a higher education were more likely to believe the government is spying on them. Again, I think this has to do with the fact that people with a higher education just understand technology better and know exactly what our government has the capability of doing if they so choose.
After reading this article a few questions popped into my head right away. First, I wonder what this survey would have looked like before 9/11 or before Edward Snowden released classified information from the NSA on government surveillance programs. Have we as Americans always felt this way or did something change our beliefs? I thought about this question because I feel like we weren’t always this paranoid. I think we lived in a blissful state of ignorance before but not anymore. The second question that popped in my head was, do other people from other countries feel this way about their government? Are we the worst? I feel like we’re not the only ones out there that feel this way, but we might be the worst. This is an interesting question for me because I don’t think it’s that uncommon for people to feel this way but this poll makes it seem like it’s really bad in America.