By now you must have heard of Edward Snowden, the former CIA technical analyst who leaked a treasure trove of top secret documents detailing the various electronic spying programs of the National Security Agency. Documents named major U.S. internet companies like Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and Google, though all of them denied any involvement with the agency’s clandestine programs. Regardless of that, Snowden’s actions have brought the NSA’s secret operations to the limelight, and there are conflicting public opinions about that. A recent study from the Pew Research Center reveals that majority of the young Americans believe that Snowden has actually served public interest by leaking all of those documents.

The study finds that 57 percent of 18 to 29 year olds hold this opinion, and as the age factor goes up, the percentage come down. Interestingly, young Americans are almost the exact mirror image of citizens over 65, 53 percent of those citizens believe that Snowden’s actions have harmed public interest. When asked if the government should pursue a criminal case against Snowden, 42 percent of young adults replied in the affirmative, while another 42 percent replied in the negative. 61 percent of the Americans over 65 years of age believe that Snowden should be prosecuted. The survey also asked whether Americans should be willing to give up on privacy and freedom to be safe from terrorism, 78 percent of young Americans overwhelmingly said no, in fact, all age groups agree that privacy and freedom should not be sacrificed.

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