Nearly a third of Gen Z supports gov. placing cameras in homes, as Snowden warns of growing surveillance tech

CATO Institute survey found that 29% of Americans aged 18-29 are in favor of government installing cameras in homes to stop crime and abuse.

Young Americans were twice as likely than the rest of the population to support the idea.

Nearly 3 in 10 young Americans support the government being able to put cameras in your home to surveil you, according to a new survey.

The survey from the libertarian CATO Institute found that Americans under the age of 30 support the government installing cameras in private homes with the intended purpose of stopping crime and abuse. The survey comes days after the reports that Amazon will pay over $30 million in settlements to the Federal Trade Comission for privacy violations, including a revelation that Ring camera devices were being used to illegally spy on individuals in their homes.  

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The survey asked respondents: “Would you favor or oppose the government installing surveillance cameras in every household to reduce domestic violence, abuse, and other illegal activity?” Just 14% of Americans said they would be in favor, including just 6% who were strongly in favor; fully three-quarters of Americans were opposed to the idea, including 68% who were strongly opposed. 

But young Americans were twice as likely than the rest of the population to support the idea, the survey found. Nearly 3 in 10 people in the 18-29 age group, 29%, said they supported the idea, including 14% who were strongly in favor. Still, more than half of the age group, 53%, were opposed, including 44% who were strongly opposed. Support for the idea dwindled as respondents got older: 20% of respondents age 30-44 supported cameras in homes; just 6% of 45-54 year-olds and 55-64 year-olds supported it; just 5% of 65+ year-olds were in favor.

A $5.8 million settlement from Amazon will address a lawsuit from the FTC claiming that Amazon-owned home security company Ring allowed security failures that led to privacy invasions of multiple Ring users. According to a press release from the FTC, Ring deceived its customers by allowing employees unrestricted access to customers’ videos from their home security cameras. In one instance, a Ring employee illicitly watched thousands of videos of female Ring customers in their bedrooms and bathrooms. 

Ring also failed to protect its customers from hackers, the FTC alleged. Ring’s lax security measures enabled hackers to view videos from thousands of customers, and in some cases harass and even proposition some customers by hacking into the two-way communication function.

Ring’s settlement with the FTC included both $5.8 in customer refunds and also included  stipulations that it would implement better safeguards for video and account security, and delete videos from customers and training data taken from them.

A separate $25 million settlement will address privacy complaints about Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.

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Furthermore, former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned this week that the government can and will use new technology to spy on Americans. “If we think about what we saw in 2013 and the capabilities of governments today, 2013 seems like child’s play,” Snowden told The Guardian.

“We trusted the government not to screw us,” he added. “But they did. We trusted the tech companies not to take advantage of us. But they did. That is going to happen again, because that is the nature of power.”

Campus Reform reached out to the CATO Institute for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.