The United States joins Russia, China and the United Kingdom as “endemic surveillance societies” in a new report that gives the four nations the lowest possible rating for privacy protection.
The 10th annual “Privacy & Human Rights Report” – published by the U.S.-based Electronic Privacy Information Center and U.K.-based Privacy International — includes the U.S. among the lowest-rated countries for the first time due to increasing government surveillance and decreasing federal oversight.
The report “showed a global increase in surveillance and a decline in privacy safeguards during 2007, as concerns over immigration and border control continued to dominate national policy agendas,” according to the Homeland Security Daily Wire.
In the U.S., the “Bush administration was specifically called out for tapping international phone calls and e-mails without a warrant for those with suspected links to terrorists.”
The report also cited “weak protections of financial and medical privacy” in the U.S.
The publishers of the report studied only 47 nations, most of them in Europe, and looked at only South Africa, Brazil and Argentina in all of Africa and South America.
The only nation judged to have “adequate safeguards” was Greece.
The U.S. and U.K. do not compromise privacy as much as China and Russia, according to John Palfrey of the OpenNet Initiative, a research group that monitors government surveillance. But he noted:
“Even democratic societies don’t make clear to their citizens how comprehensively governments reach into the private lives of individuals.”
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