UK shamed in world privacy league
We beat China though! Go team!
Former world power and current CCTV capital of the universe the UK has been fingered as the worst place in Europe if you fancy a little bit of privacy.
The legions of shopping centre cyclopses, together with teeth-gnashing government incompetence on data, and the funny-if-it-weren't-so-scary ID card wheeze mean that Blighty is only narrowly beaten by China in a league of shame of surveillance societies.
The list has been released today by London-based pressure group Privacy International (which got into some entertaining handbags earlier in 2007 with Google's PR droids). It produced a privacy index based on a series of categories on either side of the privacy equation: we scored a middling three out of five on democratic safeguards, but a bottom-of-the-barrel one out of five on ID cards and biometrics, for example.
The US administration didn't fare much better than the UK. It too made it into the highly un-coveted "endemic surveillance societies" club, along with the fun-loving governments of China, Russia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.
Greece tops the European list of privacy-friendly nations, deposing last year's swot Germany. Moves in 2007 by Bundestag legislators to ban anonymous email may have helped it score a "decaying" ranking.
Outside Europe, Canada takes the win with a privacy index which indicates "some safeguards but weakened protections". No country recieved the top honours of "consistently upholds human rights standards". We assume they'd have to create a new category for Google, Facebook et al.
The summary of Privacy International's analysis says: "The 2007 rankings show an increasing trend amongst governments to archive data on the geographic, communications and financial records of all their citizens and residents. This trend leads to the conclusion that all citizens, regardless of legal status, are under suspicion."
You can read the full results here. Tor and tin foil hat optional. ®
It is always a *person* that is insured. There are many people, for example, who are insured to drive any of a number of haulage trucks. This will not show up in an ANPR check. Even if it's being driven by an illegal immigrant terrorist. But Granny out doing her shopping who got her insurance courtesy of a broker this morning is a big red target for Plod.
re: You Aint Seen Nothin' Yet
>Even though it is *people* that are insured on UK roads - not vehicles - it's an irresistible technology for our boys in blue.
This isn't quite right. As I understand it, you can be insured to drive another car by being added as a Named Driver on someone else's insurence (for that car), or you can have 'Driving Other Cars' on your own insurence (as long as you drive with the owner's permission), but the car that's being driven always needs insurence either way. You couldn't for example, drive an uninsured car legally even if your insurence covers you. I don't know of any car insurence which is connected to a car. That's why when a car is written off you need to cancel the insurence.
@ Cameron Colley
Nothing to hide, nothing to fear? Fair enough. If you truly believe this, please post the following personal information: Full address, Phone number, Salary, Credit card numbers, social security, etc.
You won't do this because you don't trust the people reading this. Rightfully so, may I add.
So if you're confident that complete and full disclosure is not a problem, then you are really saying that you have a complete confidence that your government is perfectly trustworthy, which is to say that every single person part of that administration is flawless, always competent and completely incorruptible. This applies to any country, BTW.
Even if you discount the possibility of a government going sour a few years or decades from now, there's still the risk of breach of data security.
I once did a project for a police department which involved the database of all their current and past officers, complete with social security IDs. Are these people doing anything wrong that they want to hide? Presumably not. But nevertheless, when that project was over, I destroyed all the copies I had of that database: no data = no leaking of data. That protects me and protects them.