New Study Finds That Mass Surveillance Stifles Dissenting Opinions

New Study Finds That Mass Surveillance Stifles Dissenting Opinions

cybersecurity

A recent study published in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly finds that the reminder of mass government surveillance causes people to self-censor minority and dissenting opinions.

A recent study that has been published in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, titled "Under Surveillance: Examining Facebook's Spiral of Silence Effects in the Wake of NSA Internet Monitoring," evaluated the impact of subtle reminders of mass surveillance on subjects, and their willingness to voice minority and dissenting opinions about events taking place in the world.

"This study explores how perceptions and justification of surveillance practices may create a chilling effect on democratic discourse by stifling the expression of minority political views," author Elizabeth Stoycheff wrote in the paper. "Using a spiral of silence theoretical framework, knowing one is subject to surveillance and accepting such surveillance as necessary act as moderating agents in the relationship between one's perceived climate of opinion and willingness to voice opinions online."

The "spiral of silence" is a theory that posits that people tend to remain silent when they feel that their views are in opposition to the majority perspective on certain topics out of fear of social isolation. The study incorporates government mass surveillance in order to evaluate how the awareness of its presence impacts the views that people are willing to openly express.

The study's participants were surveyed about their personalities, beliefs, and online activity, and a psychological profile was crafted for each individual. A random sample group was then reminded of government surveillance. When taking part in a discussion regarding fictional US airstrikes on the Islamic State with other participants, the majority of those who were reminded of surveillance were found to be less likely to discuss their dissenting opinions. This included those who were determined to be less likely to self-censor.

"Normatively, these results provide important considerations for policymakers as they seek to renew, revise, and draft additional provisions that continue to allow bulk online data collection and mass surveillance practices," Stoycheff wrote. "Interestingly, the participants in this study who were the most susceptible to conformist behavior were those who supported these controversial surveillance policies. These individuals expressed that surveillance was necessary for maintaining national security and they have nothing to hide. However, when these individuals perceive they are being monitored, they readily conform their behavior-expressing opinions when they are in the majority, and suppressing them when they're not."

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The title might as well be "Study finds that water is wet!". Silencing dissent is part of the entire reason for wanting surveillance powers to begin with, because even when your not taking action (actual or socially) the threat is always implicit by the knowledge that Big Brother is watching and his attention could fall on you at any time, as unlikely as it may be.

It's a grave we've dug for ourselves though, one piece at a time we've been allowing both the government and corporate establishments to strip away anonymity from mass communications. "Cute" things like Gabe's "Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory" lead people to lose track of what was really important, the ability of people with dissenting opinions to speak freely being more important than any number of "jerks" that might exploit anonymity to troll.

I have no idea what this article is talking about

The opinions I post are mine alone, the NSA is a benevolent force for good

#KeepFundingNSA

PsychicTaco115:
I have no idea what this article is talking about

The opinions I post are mine alone, the NSA is a benevolent force for good

#KeepFundingNSA

I agree with this heartfelt opinion authored by the user and only the user without outside influence.

Spy agencies would never use this effect, even if it existed, for greedy self-preservation.

In other news, water is indeed wet. Did we really need a study to find out that Big Brother can quell freedom of expression? There were books made about this nearly 70 years ago.

water is wet, babies come from the stork, and diet coke is good for you

Water is wet, unless it's ice, then it's in a quantum state.

In other news, many ill educated Americans are too egotistical to realise the government doesn't care about their opinions, provided they aren't doing something illegal.

Shocking, i know.

chocolate pickles:
In other news, many ill educated Americans are too egotistical to realise the government doesn't care about their opinions, provided they aren't doing something illegal.

Shocking, i know.

That's why everything is made illegal.

Make no mistake, it's not a side effect, it's part of the design.

Fox12:
Make no mistake, it's not a side effect, it's part of the design.

This is one case where saying "it's not a bug, it's a feature" fits perfectly.

chocolate pickles:

Yeah, like murder! How dare my government make murder illegal! This is oppression.

So, we're totally going to forget that murder is murder and you don't need a government to make it illegal to find it a terrible thing?

Makes me laugh when people moan about things that 'could' be illegal. Basically, you support drugs. Just say it. You're wrong, but be open about it.

Pretty much anything is basically illegal. And unless I'm reading into this differently, yes I support drugs. Do whatever the hell you want with your body, it's not mine.

In the words of a well respected Watson; No. Shit. Sherlock.

Oh, everybody's already said that. Ok. Yep, it's working as intended then? Good for them. Though I am not sure the more educated citizens will be as overjoyed at this revelation.

Therumancer:
The title might as well be "Study finds that water is wet!".

Did you have any statistical data that showed this prior to the study? No? This is how science works. You collect data, you analyze it, you determine whether or not it's significant according to your null hypothesis. If it is significant it MIGHT be accurate. I have actually worked with data that seemed compelling. Then after doing the analysis I could determine that it was not significant. Commens like this might make you feel smart, but to me it just makes you look proud over the3 fact that you do not understand the basics of the scientific method. On that note, sometimes what seems obvious is proven to be incorrect. So rather than going "hurr durr, that's obvious" you could go "This doesn't come as a surprise, but it good to finally have a reliable source to back up my belief".

Remus:
In other news, water is indeed wet. Did we really need a study to find out that Big Brother can quell freedom of expression? There were books made about this nearly 70 years ago.

Do we need data for drug studies? Do we need data to say risk of cancer is increased when you get exposed to ionizing radiation? Does anyone on this site actually understand science at all? Science isn't supposed to be biased. Just because it supports your opinion it doesn't mean that it's correct and it especially doesn't mean it's obvious. The question here is, do you accept the scientific method? If yes, then this study was needed in order to prove that. If no then I claim the earth was created by Santa Claus 100 years ago based on the fact that it sounds compelling.

LegendaryGamer0:

Fox12:
Make no mistake, it's not a side effect, it's part of the design.

This is one case where saying "it's not a bug, it's a feature" fits perfectly.

chocolate pickles:

Yeah, like murder! How dare my government make murder illegal! This is oppression.

So, we're totally going to forget that murder is murder and you don't need a government to make it illegal to find it a terrible thing?

Makes me laugh when people moan about things that 'could' be illegal. Basically, you support drugs. Just say it. You're wrong, but be open about it.

Pretty much anything is basically illegal. And unless I'm reading into this differently, yes I support drugs. Do whatever the hell you want with your body, it's not mine.

I'll throw my support behind this as well. Personally my favorite drugs are antibiotics and a close second being over the counter painkillers. What's yours?

Yopaz:

Therumancer:
The title might as well be "Study finds that water is wet!".

Did you have any statistical data that showed this prior to the study? No? This is how science works. You collect data, you analyze it, you determine whether or not it's significant according to your null hypothesis. If it is significant it MIGHT be accurate. I have actually worked with data that seemed compelling. Then after doing the analysis I could determine that it was not significant. Commens like this might make you feel smart, but to me it just makes you look proud over the3 fact that you do not understand the basics of the scientific method. On that note, sometimes what seems obvious is proven to be incorrect. So rather than going "hurr durr, that's obvious" you could go "This doesn't come as a surprise, but it good to finally have a reliable source to back up my belief".

Remus:
In other news, water is indeed wet. Did we really need a study to find out that Big Brother can quell freedom of expression? There were books made about this nearly 70 years ago.

Do we need data for drug studies? Do we need data to say risk of cancer is increased when you get exposed to ionizing radiation? Does anyone on this site actually understand science at all? Science isn't supposed to be biased. Just because it supports your opinion it doesn't mean that it's correct and it especially doesn't mean it's obvious. The question here is, do you accept the scientific method? If yes, then this study was needed in order to prove that. If no then I claim the earth was created by Santa Claus 100 years ago based on the fact that it sounds compelling.

Agreed. Questioning the use of basic studies like this is a one-Jimmie ride to Rustle-town for me

Important to the scientific process: common sense is often wrong. So often wrong, that it's more important to check out than anyone would think. Common sense is Freud. Common sense is "scientific" racism. Common sense is that everything is made out of a combination of exactly 4 things. Common sense is that a bowling ball and feather fall at the same rate. Common sense is that a bowling ball and feather fall at different rates.

Why we have studies and data and empiricism.

chocolate pickles:

LegendaryGamer0:

chocolate pickles:
In other news, many ill educated Americans are too egotistical to realise the government doesn't care about their opinions, provided they aren't doing something illegal.

Shocking, i know.

That's why everything is made illegal.

Yeah, like murder! How dare my government make murder illegal! This is oppression.

Makes me laugh when people moan about things that 'could' be illegal. Basically, you support drugs. Just say it. You're wrong, but be open about it.

Why is it, every time someone mentions anything remotely libertarian, the other person has to try and shut it down by bringing it back to drugs? This is much bigger then that. I don't care that the government doesn't care. That's utterly irrelevant. The issue at hand is that they are overstepping their boundaries in matters of civil liberties. What groups like the NSA is doing is highly illegal.

And for the record, sure, why shouldn't drugs be decriminalized, or made legal? Why should I tell others what to do with their own bodies? The drug war has only made the drug problem worse, while guaranteeing that our prisons are overflowing with non-violent crime offenders, most of whom are poor or black. But yes, you're argument of "you're wrong" was so compelling that I may need to reconsider my stance. Never mind that countries that decriminalized drugs, while providing healthcare for addicts, saw a drastic reduction in drug related incidents and an improvement in public health.

chocolate pickles:
In other news, many ill educated Americans are too egotistical to realise the government doesn't care about their opinions, provided they aren't doing something illegal.

Shocking, i know.

Here's a fun link for you: COINTELPRO. The government can care about your opinion, and it has framed, persecuted and murdered people for belonging to the "wrong" group.

When people are being watched and constantly have everything they ever say analyzed they tend to be more careful about what they say? What a shock!

Fox12:

Why is it, every time someone mentions anything remotely libertarian, the other person has to try and shut it down by bringing it back to drugs? This is much bigger then that. I don't care that the government doesn't care. That's utterly irrelevant. The issue at hand is that they are overstepping their boundaries in matters of civil liberties. What groups like the NSA is doing is highly illegal.

And for the record, sure, why shouldn't drugs be decriminalized, or made legal? Why should I tell others what to do with their own bodies? The drug war has only made the drug problem worse, while guaranteeing that our prisons are overflowing with non-violent crime offenders, most of whom are poor or black. But yes, you're argument of "you're wrong" was so compelling that I may need to reconsider my stance. Never mind that countries that decriminalized drugs, while providing healthcare for addicts, saw a drastic reduction in drug related incidents and an improvement in public health.

Saw this the other day; http://jezebel.com/nixons-policy-advisor-admits-he-invented-war-on-drugs-t-1766359595
I am unsure on the opinions of the site and such, but certainly thought for food meanwhile.

Edit: Sorry for the crudeness of this link/post, just a little preoccupied currently.

Xsjadoblayde:

Fox12:

Why is it, every time someone mentions anything remotely libertarian, the other person has to try and shut it down by bringing it back to drugs? This is much bigger then that. I don't care that the government doesn't care. That's utterly irrelevant. The issue at hand is that they are overstepping their boundaries in matters of civil liberties. What groups like the NSA is doing is highly illegal.

And for the record, sure, why shouldn't drugs be decriminalized, or made legal? Why should I tell others what to do with their own bodies? The drug war has only made the drug problem worse, while guaranteeing that our prisons are overflowing with non-violent crime offenders, most of whom are poor or black. But yes, you're argument of "you're wrong" was so compelling that I may need to reconsider my stance. Never mind that countries that decriminalized drugs, while providing healthcare for addicts, saw a drastic reduction in drug related incidents and an improvement in public health.

Saw this the other day; http://jezebel.com/nixons-policy-advisor-admits-he-invented-war-on-drugs-t-1766359595
I am unsure on the opinions of the site and such, but certainly thought for food meanwhile.

Edit: Sorry for the crudeness of this link/post, just a little preoccupied currently.

This is very interesting. I've never been one for conspiracies, but this wouldn't surprise me in the least. Thanks for sharing.

Xsjadoblayde:

Fox12:

Why is it, every time someone mentions anything remotely libertarian, the other person has to try and shut it down by bringing it back to drugs? This is much bigger then that. I don't care that the government doesn't care. That's utterly irrelevant. The issue at hand is that they are overstepping their boundaries in matters of civil liberties. What groups like the NSA is doing is highly illegal.

And for the record, sure, why shouldn't drugs be decriminalized, or made legal? Why should I tell others what to do with their own bodies? The drug war has only made the drug problem worse, while guaranteeing that our prisons are overflowing with non-violent crime offenders, most of whom are poor or black. But yes, you're argument of "you're wrong" was so compelling that I may need to reconsider my stance. Never mind that countries that decriminalized drugs, while providing healthcare for addicts, saw a drastic reduction in drug related incidents and an improvement in public health.

Saw this the other day; http://jezebel.com/nixons-policy-advisor-admits-he-invented-war-on-drugs-t-1766359595
I am unsure on the opinions of the site and such, but certainly thought for food meanwhile.

Edit: Sorry for the crudeness of this link/post, just a little preoccupied currently.

In a word, bullshit. The war on drugs started with LBJ. Specifically it started in 1964 with the Law Enforcement Assistance Act, in 1965 with the Drug Abuse Control Amendments, and in 1968 when Johnson folded the disparate anti-drug task forces into the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs under Justice. Did Nixon escalate by flipping that into it's own agency, sure, but pretending he started anything is the worst kind of revisionism.

ravenshrike:
The war on drugs started with LBJ. Specifically it started in 1964 with the Law Enforcement Assistance Act, in 1965 with the Drug Abuse Control Amendments, and in 1968 when Johnson folded the disparate anti-drug task forces into the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs under Justice. Did Nixon escalate by flipping that into it's own agency, sure, but pretending he started anything is the worst kind of revisionism.

Eh, I would argue for the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914. Of course, the United States was a driving force behind the 1912 Hague International Opium Convention. Oh, and apparently the conference of the International Opium Commission in Shanghai in 1909.

Yes, I once took a class in "social deviancy". The professor struck me as someone with an impressive amount of experience in the matter of drugs.

Any authority over you with a differing opinion has the ability to cause problems for you and punish you for daring to question their ideals. I've had professors fail me because I expressed views they vehemently disagreed with. Behavior like this from authority naturally makes people keep quiet. Why do you think there is virtually no research trying to disprove man made climate change? Anyone who tries instantly gets ousted.

 

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