Majority of Americans "concerned" about NSA domestic surveillance

Almost two-thirds of voters believe the Patriot Act should not be reauthorized in its current form.

Outside the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade (Image: stock image)

A new survey shows there is wide support across the political spectrum for ending the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance programs.

The poll (PDF), commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), showed 84 percent of respondents believed the FBI and other law enforcement agencies should require a warrant to access phone and email records.

Even if the Patriot Act expires, the worst surveillance will carry on

Parts of the Patriot Act will sunset this June. But the more egregious spying programs are under a different authority. Lawmakers say they only know a fraction of what they should.

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Also, two-thirds of respondents believe the Patriot Act, which the NSA used to authorize the mass bulk collection of Americans' phone records (which was later struck down by a court), should not be reauthorized in its current form.

Fewer than one-in-five respondents were "not concerned" that the US government was collecting and storing phone records, emails, bank statements, and other communications on them.

The poll is the latest to gather the opinions on Americans' view of domestic surveillance. Since the Edward Snowden revelations landed almost two years ago, there has been an intense debate across the US about the role and scope of the US law enforcement and intelligence agencies, which have shown to have stored and accessed millions of Americans' personal records and data.

Congress has just four days (including today) to decide whether or not it will allow a key provision in the controversial Patriot Act to expire, or to extend it, ahead of its sunset date on June 1.

The current Freedom Act, which passed the House last week, is now in the hands of the Senate. The bipartisan bill would reform the bulk phone records collection program, but a small group of Republicans are looking to pass a clean reauthorization of the Patriot Act.