The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Community News Network

December 25, 2013

Americans uneasy about surveillance but often use snooping tools

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

Nearly seven in 10 Americans are concerned about how much personal information government agencies and private companies collect, the poll found. But among parents 40 or older — the group most likely to have teenagers — 70 percent said they monitor the websites their children visit. Many also review their kids' texts, emails and social-media use. A small number of Americans also report tracking the movements of their spouses or using video feeds to monitor elderly parents.

Northern Virginia tech entrepreneur Zachary Thompson, 30, is typical in disliking government surveillance but embracing similar tools in his own life. Thompson, who owns an Internet service provider, YellowFiber Networks, has had to respond to federal court orders to hand over user data. "It sucks, to be blunt, because there's nothing you can do," he said.

But when it comes to his daughter — not yet 2 years old — he already plans to track her in a way that parents a generation ago could hardly have imagined. He and others said a parent's relationship with a child is fundamentally different from a government's with its citizens.

"I fully anticipate when she comes of age putting up a fire wall and monitoring everything she does," he said. "That's a parent's responsibility."

In Ashburn, the sprawling Northern Virginia suburb where development was supercharged by Loudoun County's 1990s tech boom, massive data centers — the guts of the Internet — have replaced farms along rolling, formerly rural roads. People in Ashburn have lived and worked with the Internet since it first became widely used, yet even here, in townhouse communities and estate home developments built hard by the data centers, residents wrestle with how to distinguish between useful surveillance and unacceptable intrusions — by the NSA, by private companies and by family members.

Attitudes toward surveillance often vary depending on who is doing it and how clear the purpose is. Beliveau, for example, does not mind the tracking the government does to sniff out potential terrorists, because she believes innocent people have nothing to fear.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014