Guess who’s watching

Britain and the United States are the bottom two western democracies when it comes to respecting the privacy rights of their citizens, according to a new report by Privacy International and the Electronic Privacy Information Center. On a five-point scale, with one being the lowest, the UK scored just 1.5, only slightly better  than Russia ...

606366_Big_Brother_is_watching.thumb_5.jpg
606366_Big_Brother_is_watching.thumb_5.jpg

Britain and the United States are the bottom two western democracies when it comes to respecting the privacy rights of their citizens, according to a new report by Privacy International and the Electronic Privacy Information Center. On a five-point scale, with one being the lowest, the UK scored just 1.5, only slightly better  than Russia and Singapore. In fact, the Brits are so heavily monitored that a separate 102-page report calls their country a "surveillance society." Things are only a little better in America, which scored 2.0. The scores are the average of 13 indicators, ranging from "constitutional protection" to "work place monitoring."

Germany tops the list at 3.9. But buried in the report, it says that warrantless monitoring of telephone conversations increased 500 percent in Germany from 1995-2004. (Check out Niels Sorrells's "German Tap Lessons" on ForeignPolicy.com for more about the issue.) Nonetheless, Germany gets a "communications interception" score of 4. Which suggests that either the report is flawed or that telephone monitoring in other countries is just that much more prevalent. Not good news either way.

Britain and the United States are the bottom two western democracies when it comes to respecting the privacy rights of their citizens, according to a new report by Privacy International and the Electronic Privacy Information Center. On a five-point scale, with one being the lowest, the UK scored just 1.5, only slightly better  than Russia and Singapore. In fact, the Brits are so heavily monitored that a separate 102-page report calls their country a “surveillance society.” Things are only a little better in America, which scored 2.0. The scores are the average of 13 indicators, ranging from “constitutional protection” to “work place monitoring.”

Germany tops the list at 3.9. But buried in the report, it says that warrantless monitoring of telephone conversations increased 500 percent in Germany from 1995-2004. (Check out Niels Sorrells’s “German Tap Lessons” on ForeignPolicy.com for more about the issue.) Nonetheless, Germany gets a “communications interception” score of 4. Which suggests that either the report is flawed or that telephone monitoring in other countries is just that much more prevalent. Not good news either way.

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