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Most Americans Dislike Snowden, But He's Popular Abroad: Poll

Image: Most Americans Dislike Snowden, But He's Popular Abroad: Poll
(The Guardian/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 Apr 2015 06:28 AM

An international poll conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union focusing on the attitudes of millennials toward Edward Snowden found that majorities held positive opinions of him, but more so in Europe than in the U.S., according to U.S. News & World Reports.

The ACLU represents Snowden against U.S. government efforts to prosecute him for violations of the Espionage Act. He continues to dump thousands of pages of classified information about National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance activities into the public domain.

Millennials, ages 18 to 34, tend to view Snowden as a champion of privacy. They see his actions as basically benign, and lean toward thinking that what he did is unlikely to undermine efforts to stop terrorist groups from striking in the West.

Pluralities in some countries, including the U.S., say they are not sure about his impact on terrorism.

Besides the U.S., the poll was conducted in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain, Italy, Canada, New Zealand, France and Australia.

Snowden was most popular among Italian young people, with 86 percent "very" or "somewhat" positive. American millennials were comparatively the least enthused with Snowden's actions, though 56 percent were "very" or "somewhat" positive, according to the ACLU.

U.S. News reported exclusively that 64 percent of Americans of all ages surveyed hold a negative opinion of Snowden and 36 percent a positive one — of these, 8 percent are very positive.

The older the group of Americans are, the less favorable their views on Snowden. Among those aged 35-44, some 34 percent have positive attitudes toward him. For the 45-54 age cohort, the figure is 28 percent, and it drops to 26 percent among Americans over age 55, U.S. News reported.

Snowden, who worked as a private contractor at the NSA, fled the U.S. on May 20, 2013. Through collaborators Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, he began releasing purloined classified information about phone and Internet intercepts in June. He arrived in Moscow on June 23 and was soon granted asylum by President Vladimir Putin.

From Moscow, Snowden continues to disseminate information about the U.S. and its allies. In February, he made public that the Israeli, American and British intelligence services were coordinating efforts to track the activities of leaders in the Islamic Republic of Iran because of suspicions about that country's nuclear weapons program, Haaretz  reported.

The younger generation opposes government agencies tracking them online or collecting data about their phone calls, said ACLU executive director Anthony Romero, according to U.S. News.

"It is unlikely this generation of digital natives will shed a fundamental commitment to the free exchange of information" even when they grow older, Romero wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed.

The ACLU survey was conducted between Feb. 17 and 19.

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An international poll conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union focusing on the attitudes of millennials toward Edward Snowden found that majorities held positive opinions of him, but more so in Europe than in the U.S., according to U.S. News & World Reports.
edward snowden, nsa, surveillance, aclu, poll
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2015-28-22
Wednesday, 22 Apr 2015 06:28 AM
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