Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/12/31/britain_worst_privacy/

UK shamed in world privacy league

We beat China though! Go team!

By Christopher Williams

Posted in Law, 31st December 2007 13:14 GMT

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. ®