PI: Leading surveillance societies in the EU and the World 2007

By EDRi · January 16, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

UK-based human rights group Privacy International (PI) published at the
end of last year the 2007 ranking assessment of the state of privacy in 47
countries, including all European Union member states.

The raking is based on the Privacy & Human Rights reports produced since
1997 by PI together with US-based Electronic Privacy Information Center and
is taking into consideration several criteria such as constitutional &
statutory protection and privacy enforcement, biometric ID
cards, data-sharing, video surveillance, communication interceptions and
data retention.

According to the authors, the project wants to “recognize countries in which
privacy protection and respect for privacy is nurtured. This is done in the
hope that others can learn from their example” but also “to identify
countries in which governments and privacy regulators have failed to create
a healthy privacy environment. The aim is not to humiliate the worst ranking
nations, but to demonstrate that it is possible to maintain a healthy
respect for privacy within a secure and fully functional democracy.”

The main findings of the study that includes a world map of the
surveillance societies, show an overall worsening of privacy protection
across the world, reflecting an increase in surveillance and a declining
performance of privacy safeguards.

The rankings for 2007 prove a disturbing and 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 their legal status, are under

The privacy trends have been fueled by the emergence of a profitable
surveillance industry dominated by global IT companies and the creation of
numerous international treaties that frequently operate outside judicial or
democratic processes.

PI also claims that “surveillance initiatives initiated by Brussels have
caused a substantial decline in privacy across Europe, eroding protections
even in those countries that have shown a traditionally high regard for
privacy.” The general trend is the failure of the privacy performance for
older democracies in Europe, while the performance of newer democracies is
becoming generally stronger.

It is worth noting also that the worst ranking EU country is the United
Kingdom, which again fell into the “black” category along with Russia and
Singapore. However for the first time Scotland has been given its own
ranking score and performed significantly better than England & Wales.

The 2006 leader, Germany, slipped significantly in the 2007 rankings,
dropping from 1st to 7th place behind Portugal and Slovenia.

Leading surveillance societies in the EU and the World 2007 (28.12.2007)

Global Privacy Index Criticizes Falling Standards in Germany (7.01.2008)