Study finds relationship between knowing you’re under surveillance and the views you post online

Instead, it attenuates the relationship between the opinion climate and voicing opinions except among a small number of participants who believe surveillance is not justified. Those who firmly believe that the govern-ment’s monitoring programs are unacceptable decide whether to share their views entirely independently of both perceived surveillance and the opinion climate. […]Although not directly measured, the individuals who comprise this group may very well be members of the avant-garde who are highly educated and vocal about their views regardless of circumstances, and individuals who are so turned off by sur-veillance that they are unwilling to ever share political beliefs online. In support of this speculation, a post hoc OLS regression predicting unjustified surveillance atti-tudes revealed that greater political knowledge (β = .30, p < .001) and low willing-ness to self-censor (β = −.16, p < .10) were significant and marginally significant predictors. [...] For the remainder—and majority—of participants, being primed of government surveillance significantly reduced the likelihood of speaking out in hostile opinion climates. [...]Theoretically, it adds a new layer of chilling effects to the spiral of silence[...] 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.[...] those holding the dominant opinion eagerly volunteered their ideas (over 6 on a 7-point scale), but the “nothing to hide” group seemed to experience some degree of dissonance when their views were in the minority, as they were inclined to “hide” them.

Source: Under Surveillance – 1077699016630255.full.pdf

From Under Surveillance: Examining Facebook’s Spiral of Silence Effects in the Wake of NSA Internet Monitoring
Elizabeth Stoycheff

Important stuff if you want to run a democracy.

Robin Edgar

Organisational Structures | Technology and Science | Military, IT and Lifestyle consultancy | Social, Broadcast & Cross Media | Flying aircraft

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