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Privacy International Releases 2007 Report 179

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Privacy International has released their report on privacy for 2007, which includes a color-coded world map that highlights the countries with the best privacy laws, the privacy-hostile countries being in black. While many of the overall rankings may come as no surprise, it does highlight some of the more obscure abuses. For example, Venezuela requires your fingerprints just to get a phone and South Korea requires a government registration number linked to your identity before you can post on message boards. Makes you wonder who is Number One?"
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Privacy International Releases 2007 Report

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  • Though I am inclined to classify this research as bogus, it's quite funny and intriguing that the USA, Britain, Russia and China are in the same club. I'd like to hear my president talk to China about privacy.
    • by taniwha ( 70410 ) on Monday December 31, 2007 @11:08PM (#21872124) Homepage Journal
      they're all tagged 'endemic surveillance societies' - is the govt tapping phones without permission? watching your web traffic? got cameras all watching you in public? - that's all surveillance - seems right to me - I mean they have honking big machines in AT&T's backbones watching every packet and voice call that passes through
      • Many of the same surveillance capabilities in China are firmly implanted in the US also, which in theory, at least from one viewpoint, puts them "in the same club"; what makes the difference - for now - is that China readily and widely abuses its powers to implement what is effectively a fascist dictatorship (where people can and do for example commonly get 'disappeared' for merely expressing views that disagree with the government), while the US abuses its powers only minimally and has NOT actually become
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tverbeek ( 457094 )
      They are a bit unfair to the U.S., however, in that they comment that other countries' judiciaries have recognized an implied limited right to privacy in their constitutions, but they don't mention that the U.S. Supremes have recognized one as well (it being the basis for Roe v. Wade, after all).
      • Let us talk about GITMO where the US has broken international law according to many. Shall we?
    • Though I am inclined to classify this research as bogus, it's quite funny and intriguing that the USA, Britain, Russia and China are in the same club.

      Actually, speaking as someone from the UK, I think it's just sad... and entirely, objectively accurate. Our modern surveillance state/database society in the UK would make any dictator proud.

      We are rapidly moving towards a state where the government monitors, inter alia,

      • more CCTV cameras per capita of the population than any other country on the planet,
      • ANPR cameras on all our major roads, and
      • all Internet use.

      The government is essentially compiling databases, to be kept near enough forever, of:

  • The Prisoner? (Score:1, Interesting)

    What's with the "Prisoner" reference? The ceaseless spying on the occupants of the Village was an aspect of the series, not the overarching theme.

    I know I'm quibbling because the Prisoner reference could have been worked into the summary quite easily but asking "Who is Number One?" isn't relevant to the referenced article. This question will also set off flame wars in some circles.

    This is an observation, not a criticism, and a plea for more succinct summnary writing. The reference to the Prisoner is apt
  • Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia really needs to work on this since their governments all claimed that smart ID cards are so convenient that they can use it to replace ATMs and train tickets.
  • by aldheorte ( 162967 ) on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:47PM (#21872038)
    It wouldn't hurt if all of you sitting in front of your notebooks, computers, and cellular phones with integrated cameras turned off could be bothered to wave at us once in awhile.
  • by ad454 ( 325846 ) on Monday December 31, 2007 @11:03PM (#21872108) Journal
    I cannot believe that this report does not include Japan's treatment legal "foreigners", including visitors, long term & permanent residents. Since late November, all of the these "foreigners" in Japan are now forced to be fingerprinted. Even worse, the corrupt Japanese government awarded the contract to collect the "foreigner" biometric data to the corrupt criminal organization Accenture (renamed Arthur Andersen) which did the falsified books for Enron and Worldcom. Accenture won the bid to collect the data for only (JPY)$100,000, approximately (USD)$900. You can bet that the Accenture paid the Japanese government a lot of money under the table in order to resell the biometric data to interested parties.

    Maybe other countries should start fingerprinting Japanese visitors and residents, and then sell the biometric data to those Nigerian scammers.

    This fingering of "foreigners" is even worse considering that Japan is the only first world nation not to have any anti-discrimination legislation, and legal "foreigners" in Japan are not even afforded even the mere basic of protection under the law. (Foreigners in Japan do have any Habeas Corpus and can be tortured in prison for up to 21 days. Testimony by foreigners in Japan has been ruled inadmissible in court, since there are not considered to be human by the Japanese ministry of Justice.)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Maybe they don't include it because they wrote about it earlier: []

      "PI leads coalition of organisations against Japanese Government plans for fingerprinting at border


      Today, in a coalition with 18 Japanese rights groups, Privacy International delivered a letter to the Japanese Minister of Justice to protest against the implementation of a fingerprinting system and face-scanning system at its borders. All visitors and many forei
    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @01:27AM (#21872604)
      corrupt criminal organization Accenture (renamed Arthur Andersen)
      Nope. Accenture was formerly named Andersen Consulting
      which did the falsified books for Enron and Worldcom.
      Nope. That was Arthur Andersen. Two different companies.
    • I cannot believe that this report does not include Japan's treatment legal "foreigners", including visitors, long term & permanent residents.
      Isn't this included in the summary?

      "Only second country to implement vast biometric collection at borders."
    • While Accenture was once under the Arthur Andersen umbrella, they are not the organization which did the Enron books. In fact, they, prior to the debacle, sued to break away from Arthur Andersen and lost the (at the time prestigious) name in the process. This later turned out to be a win/win for them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Heian-794 ( 834234 )

      Absolutely true, and the fingerprinting is only the beginning.

      You would think that if such fingerprinting measures were taken at the border, any foreigner admitted to the country would be considered not to be a criminal, but in fact the Japanese government doesn't start trusting you even a bit.

      All non-citizens -- even permanent residents -- are forced to carry Alien Registration Cards at all times. These cards alone contain enough information to offer any mugger the opportunity to become an identity th

  • B.S. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This pisses me off as I see friends and family continue to throw their personal information into the shithole that is MySpace when there are better alternatives available. This privacy group spouts loads of uninformed and ignorant crap. This was clear when they placed Facebook lower than MySpace in their "rankings". []

    Regardless of what you think of Facebook's controversial features... even YEARS ago, Facebook has offered super granular acc
    • Facebook (Score:3, Insightful)

      Wow, you're really kind to Facebook.

      Have you also noticed that their entire modus operandi is basically to get friends to provide information about each other? And that if you've ever created an account there, even if you deactivate it, they still keep your personal information around indefinitely and allow people to continue doing things like tagging you in photos?

      I don't know how anyone rational can view services like Facebook as not being a serious threat to privacy.

      Of course, I'm about as likely t

  • by RotateLeftByte ( 797477 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @04:13AM (#21873022)
    The UK does not have ID Cards.
    Ok, the Government wants to introduce them but AFAIK, the bill to introduce them has not been passed by Parliament and received Royal Ascent( The Queen's Signature )
    There are several Political Parties which are totally opposed to the introduction of ID Cards.

    Finally, given the fiasco that normally accompanies government IT Projects, I don't expect to see them introduced before 2020 anyway.

    • The UK does not have ID Cards. Ok, the Government wants to introduce them but AFAIK, the bill to introduce them has not been passed by Parliament and received Royal Ascent( The Queen's Signature )

      Unfortunately, you are mistaken. The Identity Cards Act received royal assent, becoming law, on 30 March 2006. []

      The first legal battle has already been lost. Now it's down to either electing someone to repeal the law before it really takes hold, or sufficient civil disobedience to undermine the law. Fortunately, both of those events are quite likely.

  • Yeah, right: Greece leads the EU on privacy, in a year that saw the board of the independent Privacy Authority resigning [] over rampant and unconstitutional CCTV use by the Justice Department. Incidentally, that happened just before the Greek PA was to investigate the 2005 wiretapping scandal [] that made international headlines. What kind of kool-aid are they taking over there in Privacy Int'l? The sad truth is that privacy took a nose dive this year across the whole of the EU, with the Prum, VIS, PNR and Swif
  • Is so 19th century. This is 2008, you need to embrace your government, they are doing this for your own good you know. Privacy only breeds insecurity.

    You don't want to be considered a subserve with all this talk of 'personal freedoms' do you?
  • The map is rife with errors, and the study takes factors into account that haven't actually happened. For instance, the US received the lowest possible score for 'ID Cards and Biometrics'. Sure, there's some particularly nasty legislation in the works, but so far none of it has passed.

    Svalbard is colored red. I can't possibly imagine that there are considerable privacy issues taking place on Svalbard, apart from the fact that most of the arctic island's 2,200 inhabitants probably know each other.


The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay