UK still lousy on electronic nosiness
Report shows state of international surveillance heavyweights
A new report highlights a depressingly consistent drift towards ever greater control of the population using new technologies.
There are few surprises in the 2010 report (pdf), entitled The Electronic Police State, issued yesterday. It shows Russia and the United States within a couple of points of each other when it comes to electronic policing and surveillance, North Korea just overtaking China to gain top prize, and the United Kingdom leading the rest of the West – after the US.
The report's authors at CryptoHippie do, of course, have a product to shift. It is a US-based company providing what it describes as "superior privacy enhancing technologies". However, it has also been putting a regular toe in the water to test the degree of electronic surveillance going on worldwide, and while it may not be the most unbiased of observers, it is at least producing a consistent data stream that allows the rest of us to debate the issues and monitor trends.
According to the report, an electronic police state is characterised by "State use of electronic technologies to record, organize, search and distribute forensic evidence against its citizens".
The two crucial facts about the information gathered under an electronic police state are these:
1. It is criminal evidence, ready for use in a trial.
2. It is gathered universally ("preventively") and only later organized for use in prosecutions.
States are assessed on 17 different criteria, including such varied factors as border issues, gag orders and anti-crypto laws. This year, a new weighting system has been introduced, so that certain factors contribute more heavily. The top-weighted items include: Financial Tracking, Data Storage Ability, Data Search Ability, ISP Data Retention, Cell Phone Record retention, (lack of) Police-Intel and Covert Hacking.
In many ways, what is depressing is how little has changed since the last such report in 2008. Almost without exception, the raw scores for each of the 52 states surveyed has gone up (though it is not absolutely clear whether this is a side-effect of the weighting). There has been a little jostling for position between China and North Korea, and the US has overtaken the UK to claim fifth place.
The latter may, in fact, be an artefact of the way states are selected. In 2008, Reg readers sparked a fierce debate over why the UK featured twice in CryptoHippie’s rankings. The reason was simple: it had separated out Scotland from the rest of the UK, and the former turned out to be significantly less repressive than their southern neighbours.
The slight improvement in the UK position from 5th to 6th may therefore be no more than spurious progress.
Otherwise, the big winners are Taiwan, Slovenia and New Zealand – all three of which dropped by five or more places in the rankings – and the big losers would appear to be the citizens of Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria (followed closely by Italy). In the case of Spain, which has leapt a massive 22 places up the ranks, no single factor appears to be the cause: rather, there is an across the board shift toward greater policing.
If you are looking to live somewhere that is not highly policed, CryptoHippie reckon that Brazil and the Phillipines are the places to go. Or even Romania.
Whether this latter finding has anything to do with greater liberalism breaking out in that country, or simply that they would like to spy on their citizens but lack the ability, is unclear. ®
Cameras are one way
I like this:
The love police (not real police) try to give a man in police uniform (also not real police) a hug. In doing show he shows everyone not to be afraid of these officious assholes.
All of their intimidation is based on fear, when a police office in uniform, gets 5 of his friends to surround you he's trying to induce fear. You are supposed to be terrorised into complying with whatever rule he wants because you fear what he and his friends may do.
See how the officer refers to the man 'terrorising' people by speaking into his megaphone, trying to redefine Section 44 anti-terror act, in a way that speech = terror!
And when a group of knowledgeable people assemble like that and cooperate to defeat the intimidation and surveillance culture, everyone smiles because it empowers them. Suddenly they start to think they have rights too, they can refuse random searches and arbitrary rules too.
If only more people would stand up to this.
A massive disaster in the making getting ever worse...
Its very depressing how so much of Europe is near the top of the list. So much for the myth of freedom. I guess thats why they have to tell us all so often, that we are free, and that we live in a free country, because otherwise more people may have time to realize the truth. Which also explains the so called "land of the free" who have been brought up to believe they are free when they are not.
I find that list very interesting. Its helped me to understand why every time any attempt to complain about the UK Police State ends up suffering the same sales pitch where opponents say, well just look how badly they have to live in other counties like China. Why the hell do these morons always fail to see all the other countries that are better than the UK and only focus on the remaining few countries that are actually worse than the UK!
Even more disturbing is the thought we are still only at the beginning of the slide into a technological Police State. There is so much more they can do to spy on us all. Worse still they show how determined they are to find ways to spy on us all. (after all there is money to be made from all this spying). So much for the idea that our politicians are our "government representatives" when they show they work against us not for us. But then the whole nature of political power is to have the power to tell others how they must live, so is it any wonder that over time that power gets ever more powerful until they cause real harm and hardship to peoples lives.
All this spying is not improving our lives (its already forcing ever more rules, regulations and punishments on to us all, resulting in us being forced to waste ever more of what little time and money we have to comply with our masters wishes). Its only improving the profits for a minority who have control of the spying technology as they exploit us all for ever more profit. Thats not an improvement, its basically herding us towards what the people in power want, which is ever more power and the personal gain they get from having such power over us.
Sadly I think a global police state is inevitable because too few stand against it, plus the control freaks are determined to exploit ever more technology because the people in power want power, its as simple as that, they want power. It is however sad that too few people in each country have enough knowledge of history to see the hidden dangers in human actions when a minority seek and gain ever more power over others and too few people have knowledge of psychology (or simply human nature) to see that every generation suffers a minority of people with extreme utter self centered, greedy, contempt for others, which is why each generation has to guard against this minority gaining such power over everyone else, otherwise they end up causing considerable harm and hardship for everyone else in society. Its been repeated throughout history.
Worse still too few people these days can even imagine just how deep the depths of utter contempt Narcissists have for other people, (and just how quick they are to resort to angry contempt to get their own way) so they fail to see just how self centered Narcissists are and how ruthlessly self centered they are when they gain power over people. Its why they cannot be trusted with such power over everyone. Narcissists are attracted to power so many of our politicians are Narcissists and its why they act like our masters instead of our government representatives. Narcissists are also attracted to power over people in companies. Its why they are a danger in society and why our technology needs to be setup to watch all Narcissists in power and not them watching us. They work for us. They want Big Brother technology its time to use that against them. Also generations fought to free themselves from state interference yet we are rapidly sliding back into incredible levels of state interference. Plus we even have some corporate interference forcing us to comply with their rules as they seek to spy on us. (We only have to look at the Narcissistic scum at Phorm to see some of the problems society faces with corporate interference, plus we also have ever more out sourced government control of our lives, for example all the ever more government databases to monitor us all so that we are complying with every wish and whim of our masters and so they can punish us whenever we don't comply).
I can't however believe this slide into a technology based Global Police State can carry on indefinitely without people starting to fight back against it. But I suspect by then it'll be too late, as by then, the Police State will be able to move to use any number of ways to delay, punish or distract any hostile critics to effectively silence and undermine critics. But that is just going to build ever more public anger against the control freaks. That can't go on without it ending up causing a massive very angry revolution against the control freaks.
Its like watching a massive disaster in the making getting ever worse. I feel like saying sorry George Orwell, you tried to warn us all, but too few listened. :( ... sadly even now, we still suffer some who fail to see the dangers. Until everyone can stand together against what is happening, nothing is going to improve and its going to keep getting ever worse. The scale of this growing nightmare could very well end up defining our time and place in history so we end up as another sad warning note in the history books. I wonder how future historians will label us. I would suggest victims of a growing Technological Police State or more to the point victims of a new form of Fascism they could call Technological Fascism. :(
Great post. Lots of interesting theories but I really think you're being far too pessimistic. I also think that a better reason to not have kids is the fact that there are 7 billion of us twats running all over this planet already.
You cite all the negatives but think of some of the proactive things even the unsuccesful or misdirected ones - Tianamen Square, the campaign against the Burmese junta, the collapse of apartheid, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the orange revolution, Lech Walensa, hell even the Taliban are fighting back against the authority that's being placed upon them (I make no other comment on that conflict as I support the unbelievably difficult job our soldiers are doing).
People will put up with a hideous, horrible amount of oppression but don't ever think that we will never be motivated to act and act in unexpected and vigorous ways. That would be an overconfidence, that I believe, will be the controlling powers undoing in the long run.