Feeds

Britain leads world in police state survey

Gold medals for snooping, spying and surveilling

Security for virtualized datacentres

A recent survey from internet security consultancy, Cryptohippie, suggests that the UK is setting the pace in at least one area - though being classified as the West’s most repressive regime when it comes to electronic surveillance might not be a title that this government is entirely happy to wear.

This result emerges from Cryptohippie’s recently published Electronic Police State 2008 (pdf). This is the first in what are intended to be a series of annual reports that will audit the "State use of electronic technologies to record, organize, search and distribute forensic evidence against its citizens".

The audit focusses on 17 factors, ranging from requirement to produce documents on demand, through to the extent to which states force ISP’s and phone companies to retain data, the blurring of boundaries between police and intelligence work and ultimately the breakdown of the principles of habeas corpus.

A simple five-point scoring system is used for each factor, with results totalled to produce an overall score. Some 52 major states are looked at, with final ranking apparently influenced by two quite different factors. On the one hand, states that are simply repressive are likely to score highly – and they do. The top four places in the survey are occupied by China, North Korea, Belarus and Russia.

However, electronic policing also requires some degree of technological sophistication – so it is not surprising to find the UK dropping in at no. 5 and the US at no. 6. France and Germany arrive a few places below that.

This result echoes warnings issued repeatedly by Lords and the Information Commissioner – most recently in an official report last month – that Britain is slowly sleepwalking toward becoming a surveillance society. Equally predictable was the government response that it takes all such criticisms seriously and needs to strike a balance.

However, as both Cryptohippie and other government critics have argued, the government response is disingenuous, relying on a rejection of straw men, rather than engaging with genuine fears.

The report expands on its subject thus: "The usual image of a "police state" includes secret police dragging people out of their homes at night, with scenes out of Nazi Germany or Stalin’s USSR. The problem with these images is that they are horribly outdated. That’s how things worked during your grandfather’s war – that is not how things work now.

"An electronic police state is quiet, even unseen. All of its legal actions are supported by abundant evidence. It looks pristine." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
Hungary's internet tax cannot be allowed to set a precedent, says EC
More protests planned against giga-tariff for Tuesday evening
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.