Pro-Con: Should the government spy on us?
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center shows nearly half of the American population approves of the national government monitoring public phone and Internet data.
The survey was released June 17 after Edward Snowden, a contractor for the National Security Agency, leaked information accusing the NSA of monitoring and collecting data on general law-abiding U.S. citizens.
The data shows 54 percent of the public, both Republicans and Democrats, believe the government should press criminal charges against Snowden for releasing the data, and 44 percent believe the release of the data harms the public interest.
About 38 percent of those surveyed do not believe Snowden should be prosecuted, with 49 percent believing the release of data serves the public's best interest.
The controversy has sparked national and regional debates on the need for national security versus the right of privacy each American citizen is expected to enjoy.