Most members of the public who expressed a preference in a recent poll were against the leaks of military intelligence which have appeared in The Guardian.
The Sunday Times YouGov poll comes after the head of MI5 said last week: “It causes enormous damage to make public the reach and limits of GCHQ techniques.
"Such information hands the advantage to the terrorists. It is the gift they need to evade us and strike at will."
The poll of 1,773 UK adults asked: “Which of the following best reflects your view?”
Some 35 per cent agreed with the statement: “Recent leaks about what surveillance powers the security services have are a good thing”. But 43 per cent agreed with the statement that they were “a bad thing”.
Only 19 per cent of those polled said they thought that British security services, such as MI5, have “too many powers to carry out surveillance on ordinary people”.
The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Guardian revelations about how US and UK security agencies had teamed up to analyse encryption service Tor had caused particular concern.
It quoted director of US National Intelligence James Clapper saying: "These are the tools our adversaries use to communicate and co-ordinate attacks against the United States and our allies."