Millennials’ view of Snowden could spur surveillance relief, ACLU says

A generational change could help usher in a new era in which governments prune back their surveillance efforts.

That’s the message from the American Civil Liberties Union, drawing on a study that looked into the attitude of millennials in 10 countries toward Edward Snowden, who in 2013 leaked reams of classified documents about spying programs conducted by the US National Security Agency. What the ACLU found, it said, is that members of this younger generation who know about Snowden have an “overwhelmingly positive opinion” about him.

Millennials — those born roughly between 1980 and 1999 — also tend to believe that Snowden’s disclosures will help to bring about greater privacy protections, according to the ACLU.

“The broad support for Edward Snowden among millennials around the world should be a message to democratic countries that change is coming,” Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU, said in a statement Tuesday. “They are a generation of digital natives who don’t want government agencies tracking them online or collecting data about their phone calls.”

One of the earliest and most startling revelations from the NSA documents concerned the agency’s sweeping collection of telephone records for domestic calls in the United States. Another program, known as Prism, focused on monitoring Web data.

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