Sunday, December 30, 2007

U.S. Falls to Worst Category in Privacy International Rankings

Privacy International (PI) is a human rights group formed in 1990 as "a watchdog on surveillance and privacy invasions by governments and corporations." It has been doing its global survey on the rankings of privacy protection around the world since 1997.

This year's survey describes "an increasing trend amongst governments to archive data on the geographic, communications and financial records of all their citizens and residents" which leads to the conclusion that "all citizens, regardless of legal status, are under suspicion."

It also describes
an "overall worsening of privacy protection across the world, reflecting an increase in surveillance and a declining performance of privacy safeguards."

The lowest ranking countries in the survey continue to be Malaysia, Russia and China. The highest-ranking countries in 2007 are Greece, Romania and Canada.

While Canadian news services
crowed about Canada's ranking vs. the United States and the United Kingdom, it should be noted that Canada's ranking moved from "significant safeguards and protections," next to the best category, to "some safeguards but weakened protections," a drop of two categories.

Of course, both the U.S. and U.K. are in the "endemic surveillance societies" category, the worst, and obviously Orwellian in nature. While Malaysia, Russia and China rank at the bottom, they tie at 1.3 (out of 5) while the U.K. is 1.4 and the U.S. is 1.5.

The report also noted that "in terms of statutory protections and privacy enforcement, the U.S. is the worst ranking country in the democratic world."

Greece is top at 3.1 ... once again out of 5, so you can see that privacy protection isn't exactly stellar across the world.

A .PDF version is available here.

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