Sleepwalked into a surveillance society

Here is something cheery to take you through to the new year. Look at this map. It ranks countries by how much privacy its citizens have.

2007 International Privacy Ranking

The UK is coloured in black. This means that it is among the “leading” surveillance societies. The only assessed countries to come out worse in the study are Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Russia, China and Malaysia. That’s right — in the surveillance stakes we are right up there with China.

The sliver lining in this is that at least Scotland — as opposed to Englandandwales — has a much better score. Nevertheless, to see the island of Great Britain coloured in black along with this who’s who of illiberal states (ah yes, and The Land of the Free™), is quite sobering. Whoever it was that said Britain was sleepwalking into a surveillance society appears to have been right.

Via Boing Boing.


  1. I know England is black, as is USA. But I think Canada is not far behind. More and more cameras are being put up in all cities. We wonder what they are for….

    The justification for the growth of CCTV in towns is that it deters crime — although there is still no clear evidence that CCTV reduces crime. The recent growth of CCTV in housing areas also raises serious issues about the extent to which CCTV is being used as a social control measure rather than simply a deterrent to crime.

  2. “Sleepwalking” implies we are not noticing what is happening. But for those of us who are aware of this frightening threat to our personal privacy and liberty, what can we do? The government of the UK ignores our expressed fears, citing “national security” or crime prevention as the reason why we should sacrifice these rights, and we are accused of risking our British way of life if we protest and play into the hands of terrorists. Or “if you have nothing to hide what are you afraid of?”At this rate we may reach a point that perhaps our way of life, deprived of rights and freedoms will not be worth defending. Anyway, CCTV is mainly used by councils to spy on their rate payers or by other bodies with the ultimate aim of control of the population. Believe me, it might sound ridiculous, but if it is possible to embed a microchip in a cat or a dog so they can be tracked, it will eventually happen to human babies at birth. Do you trust the politicians? You are fools if you do.