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Government Privacy

Ask Slashdot: Best Country To Avoid Government Surveillance? 381

simpz writes: Which country is best to choose for hosting Internet services and locating VMs to avoid government surveillance (both NSA and local)? It should be a country with good connectivity to the US and Europe, but have strong legal protections from mass surveillance. People talk about Switzerland, Norway and Iceland (even Spain). Anyone worked through the pros and cons of each of these? I'm not concerned about legitimate (with court order) surveillance, just the un-targeted mass surveillance most governments seem to do. I don't believe this bad behavior should be rewarded or made easy.
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Ask Slashdot: Best Country To Avoid Government Surveillance?

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  • Wrong problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 13, 2015 @11:05PM (#50516471)

    "but have strong legal protections from mass surveillance"

    Both the US and the EU have strong legal protections from mass surveillance. The problem is those protections get ignored or subverted.

    • Re:Wrong problem (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Sunday September 13, 2015 @11:58PM (#50516629)

      "but have strong legal protections from mass surveillance"

      Both the US and the EU have strong legal protections from mass surveillance. The problem is those protections get ignored or subverted.

      What US protection?

      The Fourth Amendment only applies to "unreasonable search and seizure." Reasonable search and seizure, or uses of governmental information-gathering capabilities that are not "search and seizure", do not require a warrant. Black's Law Dictionary [thelawdictionary.org] defines Search and Seizure as "These are the methods used to detect an punish crime that includes searching and taking property and data that can be used by the prosecution of the criminal." The NSA is not gathering data to arrest criminals and charge them in the civilian Court System. To be sure some of the data gets used that way, but if the military finds something out in the course of operations that are not intended to arrest your ass, there is a long history of the Court's saying "ok, Srg. Jennings says this guy had weed, we now grant a warrant to you Mr. DEA man to search this guy."

      That doesn't mean there isn't a Check on the NSA's surveillance power, it just means that anybody trying to use the Courts and the Fourth Amendment to stop this shit is likely to find that particular API call does not work. They can't get to a hearing, because to get a hearing you have to prove you have a right to sue, which is called standing, and the plain language of the law is that the Fourth Amendment does not cover NSA Surveillance, mass or otherwise. Which is extremely frustrating to people who are convinced that the Constitution must ban this shit, because it's evil so of course the Constitution bans it, and of course this will be enforced by the Courts.

      The actual Check on NSA Surveillance power is Congress, which could simply add a line to the budget saying "none of this money shall be used for PRISM," start hearings about the programs, or start impeaching people. Or any number of things that could actually work. But we can't try that. The EFF's lawyers have a legal casebook in their toolbox, but no lobbyists, so clearly the only tool for the job is the legal casebook.

      • NIcely put. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        People in the US often use the Bill of Rights as their guideline between the right and wrong uses of the government, without realizing where, in our legal system, the protections they intuit should exist actually come from.

        Yes, congress could end PRISM with a line item. And they should. The National Weather Service would love to have all new hardware.

        • People in the US often use the Bill of Rights as their guideline between the right and wrong uses of the government, without realizing where, in our legal system, the protections they intuit should exist actually come from.

          I believe the answer is "the tenth amendment"... "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

          Of course, this is a strong states rights stance, rather than a Federalist stance, so it will sit well with neither the Democrats nor the Republicans, each of which want a strong central government, for their own reasons.

          Nevertheless, it states exactly what Jefferson wanted it to state (given he was

        • People in the US often use the Bill of Rights as their guideline between the right and wrong uses of the government, without realizing where, in our legal system, the protections they intuit should exist actually come from.

          The hell we do... We routinely ignore the Bill of Rights as traditionally understood in may cases so why should we be surprised when the government chooses to ignore it when running a program like PRISM? Congress does a LOT of it's lawmaking in the dark grey areas of "the common good" and "interstate commerce", stretching the meanings of these beyond all recognition at times. Why are we surprised when they ignore the bill of rights in other areas?

          The Bill of Rights has been usurped, instead we have a co

      • Re:Wrong problem (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2015 @12:49AM (#50516789)
        "Black's Law Dictionary"

        Sure, and niggers aren't human (Dred Scott) but corporations are (Citizens United). Growing crops for your own use is Interstate Commerce (Wickard v. Filburn). The Executive Branch can create or ignore law with impunity (Executive Orders). The United States isn't a union of individual States and government isn't limited to defined powers (go find any meaningful effect which the 9th or 10th Amendments have had).

        You want to argue law? Come back when it's no longer a mass of fucking rationalizations and disingenuous bullshit. Contempt of the court is well deserved.

        The US was founded on principals of liberty and freedom, and that's what's promised. The government is supposed to be protecting rights, not usurping them based on weak rationalizations, to be replaced by some security theater. Panem et circenses.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by tlambert ( 566799 )

          "Black's Law Dictionary"

          Sure, and niggers aren't human (Dred Scott) but corporations are (Citizens United).

          I believe you are a moron for your choice of language here, but apart from being a moron, you are also an idiot for blaming the Citizen's United decisions, rather than the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company decision, which held that the 14th amendment applied equally to corporations.

          Tell California "Hi", and thank them for getting corporations declared people.

      • Re:Wrong problem (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @01:21AM (#50516865) Journal

        What US protection?

        Indeed. The end of the constitutional protections afforded to people of most western nations was destroyed by the passage of the 'homeland' security acts in their countries by power hungry politicians seeking control of the population and its resources.

        Hitler used to call Nazi Germany 'homeland' and that was the last time the phrase was used by a despotic government of a apathetic ignorant people made so by vested interests all around.

        The signs of Empire are everywhere and serial war, surveillance are the consequence of the destruction of the people's right to due process.

      • Re:Wrong problem (Score:5, Insightful)

        by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @04:54AM (#50517339) Journal

        The Fourth Amendment only applies to "unreasonable search and seizure." Reasonable search and seizure, or uses of governmental information-gathering capabilities that are not "search and seizure", do not require a warrant.

        Depends what you mean by "require". It is completely, blindingly obvious that both the spirit and letter of the 4th amendment is to stop the government digging through your private papers without a warrant.

        Just because the government decided to do it anyway and has trapped people in a kafkaesque situation where you can't stop them unless you can prove they're doing it and can't prove they're doing it unless you can get a court to make them stop, doesn't mean it's allowed.

        Black's Law Dictionary defines Search and Seizure as "These are the methods used to detect an punish crime that includes searching and taking property and data that can be used by the prosecution of the criminal."

        Which came first, the 4th amendment or Black's law dictionary. The 4th was created because the King of England had his minions digging around in dissidents papers looking for evidence of wrongdoing. So they made a law which said "no digging without a warrant".

        Now you have a bunch of liars and fools pretending the meaning and intent is not clear by redefining what various words mean in order to justify it.

        The history and language of those who wrote the 4th make the meaning entirely clear.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Parsing words and finding new meanings has been happening since the original wordings were written. Welcome to what the 2nd amendment supporters have been dealing with for forever.

          There's only one SCOTUS judge that goes by original intent- Clarence Thomas.

          Try going back through history and see how many laws and court cases abide by original intent.

      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

        but if the military finds something out in the course of operations that are not intended to arrest your ass, there is a long history of the Court's saying "ok, Srg. Jennings says this guy had weed, we now grant a warrant to you Mr. DEA man to search this guy."

        Well as long as they just arrest my ass and let the rest of me go that's not so bad.

    • so not 'strong' then...?

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      I find it interesting that everyone is so worried about the NSA but not the KGB/China. Do people really think that they care more about privacy?

  • Ancient Rome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Sunday September 13, 2015 @11:05PM (#50516473) Homepage Journal

    If you want to avoid omnipresent surveillance, you need a time machine. Otherwise expect to be spied on by several different governments and corporations. At best, maybe the government you're living in will have less surveillance on you than corporations and foreign governments.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      The best protection is to avoid being flagged from the beginning as someone the government(s) may want to watch.

      It's one thing to be politically incorrect and use profanities and politically incorrect wording and another to actually agitate and promote violent activities and organizations.

      • Or 'hide in plain sight'.

        Instead of trying to avoid attention by toeing the line, avoid it by what might be termed 'whole life steganography'. Do the subversive things while always having an excuse or reason why the subversive action is essential to daily life. Yes, it needs thought and planning, but easier than moving country.

        After all, this is how governments introduce such draconian policies in the first place... by claiming they have some alternative, semi-plausible rationale (usually involving 'p
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Next question...

  • Easy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    North Korea.

    • I heard they have a good human rights record too...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by NewtonsLaw ( 409638 )

      Damn... you beat me to it.

      At least in N.Korea they don't try to hide the fact that this is a corrupt dictatorial government which acts solely in its own best interests.

      Elsewhere -- it's exactly the same -- except that they pretend they have a democracy.

      N.Korea's government (ie: Kimmy boy) uses execution as a tool for lifting compliance -- but hey, don't many US states do the same thing and call it "justice"?

      Let's face it, far too many of our politicians and those who purport to be "representing" us in a dem

      • Re:Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by moronoxyd ( 1000371 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @02:22AM (#50517047)

        Actually, I'm pretty sure that North Korea IS hiding the fact that they are corrupt and only working for the elite.

        It's just that we outside of N.K. don't get to hear much of their propaganda and instead a lot of the commentary from third parties. Ask a North Korean who only has access to the official N.K. news what he thinks about his country and the world and you might realize how dishonest N.K. is.

      • Re:Easy (Score:4, Interesting)

        by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @11:25AM (#50518887)

        Damn... you beat me to it.

        At least in N.Korea they don't try to hide the fact that this is a corrupt dictatorial government which acts solely in its own best interests.

        Hardly.... To those OUTSIDE North Korea it is obvious that they are a corrupt government run by a despot dictator... But INSIDE North Korea the perception is generally totally different.... The Un's are billed and accepted as the deliverer of the people, the savior of man kind and the eventual ruler of the WORLD at large. Yes they are starving and oppressed but in their world view the rest of the world is in much worse shape, both economically and morally.

        To the western world view this mindset is extremely hard to understand, but one has to remember that to the North Korean, who is feed a steady diet of carefully crafted PR with never an opposing view allowed in, what they believe makes sense. They don't realize how things they are allowed to see are so skewed, or if they do realize it, they are too afraid to speak up because anybody who even hints that they know the truth will be severely punished along with their extended families.

        This should cause all of us pause... Because it shows that otherwise intelligent people are controllable if you have proper control of the media they can see. A fact that was not lost on the framers of our constitution's Bill of Rights and why the 1st amendment is so very important.

    • Yes, exactly. While they will be doing surveillance their surveillance technology is so bad they will not be able to do as much as a developed country like the US could do.

    • Re:Easy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Sunday September 13, 2015 @11:57PM (#50516627)
      Wrong: Somalia. When there is no functioning government there is no chance of government surveillance.

      The question has far to many implicit assumptions. It reeks of libertarian elitism.

      Is no government spying on residents identical to personal freedom? That's why the Somalia example is relevant. The government isn't spying on you, but you are at the mercy (literally) of warlords and violent religions factions. So what do are you really after?

      In the sense of traditional Western values, the current best answer might be Scandinavia or Germany. In those places your private life is really your own. For example there's none of the crap like in the US where right wing religious fanatics want to get into your sex life. As for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", most of the citizens are far better off then the US. They work fewer hours, have more time off, get better health care and retire at a much higher standard of living. They live longer, which is the key component of that "life" part of the quote.

      Of course they have less economic freedom, but they also have much better functioning democracy. Nobody can go out and try an buy elections, which is now the way the US elections are run.

      it's a trade off. But from the way the question was asked, I doubt that you like these answers. You're looking for a libertarian paradise, when what that really gets you is Somalia.

      • Re:Easy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MyAlternateID ( 4240189 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @12:32AM (#50516743) Homepage

        Wrong: Somalia. When there is no functioning government there is no chance of government surveillance.

        The question has far to many implicit assumptions. It reeks of libertarian elitism.

        Is no government spying on residents identical to personal freedom? That's why the Somalia example is relevant. The government isn't spying on you, but you are at the mercy (literally) of warlords and violent religions factions. So what do are you really after?

        In the sense of traditional Western values, the current best answer might be Scandinavia or Germany. In those places your private life is really your own. For example there's none of the crap like in the US where right wing religious fanatics want to get into your sex life. As for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", most of the citizens are far better off then the US. They work fewer hours, have more time off, get better health care and retire at a much higher standard of living. They live longer, which is the key component of that "life" part of the quote.

        Of course they have less economic freedom, but they also have much better functioning democracy. Nobody can go out and try an buy elections, which is now the way the US elections are run.

        it's a trade off. But from the way the question was asked, I doubt that you like these answers. You're looking for a libertarian paradise, when what that really gets you is Somalia.

        I've never seen a serious, credible libertarian advocate pure absolute 100% anarchy, just like I've never seen a serious, credible businessperson advocate 100% unrestrained laissez-faire capitalism. What I have seen is such people making arguments for a step closer to those things, an alteration or rethinking of the current balance or list of priorities. The state not spying on you without a damned good, demonstrable-in-court reason and not otherwise looking for ways to fuck with your life does not mean you must abandon all criminal justice and national defense.

        These "baby with the bathwater" excuses for argumentation really get tiresome. They don't remotely represent what any thinking person actually believes. Thus, they are strawmen.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          No, actually I never said anything about "100%" anarchy. I described Somalia as a place with "no functioning government". I said nothing to imply that an anarchistic government was the same as a completely failed state (except using it as a rhetorical device).

          I guess I have to spell it out for you. Despite the claim of rationality libertarianism has a very romantic view of the human condition: "If we could just get rid of the damn government then it would all work out great". Just like the romantic view o

          • Somalia has a perfectly functioning democratically elected government, it's just that it only runs a 1/3 of Somalia and calls this part Somaliland ...

            This is the part withour Somali Pirates, without inter clan gun battles, but with a banking system, police, and even tourism ....

        • Must be nice, having no one you consider serious and credible disagree with you.

        • I've never seen a serious, credible libertarian advocate pure absolute 100% anarchy,

          Isn't that a bit of a "no true scotsman". I shall now play my card of:

          Summon Roman Mir +20

        • I've never seen a serious, credible libertarian advocate pure absolute 100% anarchy, just like I've never seen a serious, credible businessperson advocate 100% unrestrained laissez-faire capitalism.

          This is mostly true; few libertarians are anarchists. But there are LOTS of "serious, credible libertarians" that argue for a government the size of the one in Somalia, and assume that reasonable (yet strong) structures created by private citizens acting independently will magically arise to pick up the slack an

        • "I've never seen a serious, credible libertarian advocate pure absolute 100% anarchy, just like I've never seen a serious, credible businessperson advocate 100%"

          Depends on where you look. Here is the easiest thing to find people with "binary thinking", unable to think on compromise.
      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        the warlords in Somalia are the local government and they will not just keep surveillance on you 24/7 but also come into your house unannounced and take whatever they want.

        just go Iceland. the local government is unlikely to spy you there and unlikely to harass you and in addition the local government(due to limited resources, small country etc) is unlikely to help nsa spy you too.

      • Wrong: Somalia. When there is no functioning government there is no chance of government surveillance.

        Wrong. You'll just be spied on by every other government.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 13, 2015 @11:15PM (#50516511)

    ... doesn't exist. It just doesn't. No matter how many privacy walls a country throws up, a properly motivated rival country WILL find a way over them. Want to avoid surveillance? Learn about end-to-end encryption. Stop storing crap in the cloud. Be mindful of your choices in operating systems and mobile devices. And, even then. realize that a five dollar wrench [xkcd.com] is ultimately all it will take to defeat you.

    • by amorsen ( 7485 )

      End-to-end encryption does very little against metadata surveillance. It will obscure what you talk about, which is good, but it will not obscure who you talk to, and the latter is generally what the NSA and its ilk cares most about.

  • Avoid France (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Sunday September 13, 2015 @11:38PM (#50516571)

    The French state is notorious for extreme hypocrisy. If the French State decides that violating it's rules will protect it from future terror attacks the rules will be violated.

    Most of Europe is actually entirely dependent on the US Defense-Industrial complex for protection from Putin, that's the reason the Germans insist on creating investigations of NSA surveillance and then six months later announcing "gee, it's kinda hard to charge US Government employees, who live and work in Virginia, in a Court system in a different country on a different continent." No shit, it did not take you six months to figure that out; you're just stalling and hoping the issue will go away because there's bugger-all you can do to fix the problem. Until countries like Germany start spending their money on expensive materiel like aircraft capable of transporting tanks, they are de facto vassals of the US in all matters relating to the military, and therefore totally reliant on the NSA regardless of what their local laws say.

    Try Switzerland. "Neutrals" closer to Putin's Russia are actually worse bets then non-nuetrals, because the Greek capital isn't a day's boat ride from the Russian capital. Also avoid countries near active political conflicts. Ireland not only has extremely close historical links with both the US and UK, it also has a strong interest in creating it's own database of it's own people because of that little conflict in Northern Ireland; which is heating up after Robinson resigned in a dispute over IRA weapons decommissioning.

    • Re:Avoid France (Score:5, Informative)

      by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @01:15AM (#50516843) Journal

      If the French State decides that violating it's rules will protect it from future terror attacks the rules will be violated.

      The sinking of the 'Rainbow Warrior" is an excellent example.

      • The sinking of the 'Rainbow Warrior" is an excellent example.

        Certainly it is, but that was 30 years ago. France changed since.

    • The French state is notorious for extreme hypocrisy. If the French State decides that violating it's rules will protect it from future terror attacks the rules will be violated.

      And this is different from other states how, exactly?

      All states violate their own rules when they think they can get away with it.

  • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Sunday September 13, 2015 @11:52PM (#50516603) Homepage Journal

    Your thinking about this the wrong way around.

    If you're concerned with surveillance, you shouldn't be thinking in terms of "which country", you should be thinking in terms of "which software".

    There's no guarantee that *any* data will be safe *anywhere*. Your best choice, and in fact the only choice with any chance of success, is with a technical solution.

    Use strong encryption end-to-end, encrypt any data on the servers, give your clients/customers their keys, and make certain you don't have a back door.

    That's the only way to avoid it. Hire some really capable security people to implement a strong system, and employ a security maintenance team to keep you current with known security issues.

    For all the bad you can say about Julian Assange, he's an expert in this sort of thing and even *he* wasn't able to choose a good country.

    Security through technology, it's the only way.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      I knew there was a reason to keep those 8" WordStar floppies.

    • by eth1 ( 94901 )

      Use strong encryption end-to-end, encrypt any data on the servers, give your clients/customers their keys, and make certain you don't have a back door.

      And then wait until the NSA or local equivalent shows up with a demand to add a back door and a gag order, at which time your only options are to comply or close up shop.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I really don't know why Assange came to the UK. I guess it was a mistake, after he believed the Swedish when they said he was free to go. The UK has a very poor track record on handling extradition requests. He would have been much better off with another European country, or better still somewhere like Iceland.

      Same with Snowden. Wikileaks helped him get away, but why to Russia? It can't have been a free choice I guess.

    • by Lennie ( 16154 )

      Not only that, if you really care about this problem. You need to not have the encryption keys on a machine you don't trust. I would keep the server hardware close.

      Don't use VMs or servers cloud/hosting providers (maybe dedicated colo-servers in a cage with an alarm on it ?). Or host it yourself. That is the only way to be sure who has access to the hardware.

      Also keep it in the same jurisdiction as yourself, dealing with multiple governments just makes things more complicated.

      Some more background about the

  • Sealand (Score:5, Informative)

    by ihtoit ( 3393327 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @12:02AM (#50516645)

    It's easy to find, it's an old Channel gun battery three miles off the coast of Essex. Last I heard they were trading server room space for a little cash and supplies.

  • but have strong legal protections from mass surveillance

    Those "strong legal protections" have numerous loopholes for national security and other purposes. That's in addition to those governments quietly tolerating the US and other nations spying on their citizens.

    Some of the enclaves for the super-rich, like Switzerland and Monaco, may be decent choices... if you are super rich. But if you are super rich, you can probably avoid government surveillance pretty much anywhere.

  • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @12:07AM (#50516665)

    Most countries fall into one of four categories here: Five Eyes (shares surveillance data with U.S.), 'The West' (same, probably with implicit economic threats involved), Laizzes-faire governments (trivially bribed in order to share surveillance data with U.S.), and totalitarian (keeps the info to themselves but surveils everything openly).

    Reporters Without Borders maintains a nice ranking here [rsf.org] of countries based on their histories of surveillance and censorship; however, sometimes it turns out that a country high on the list will be revealed to have been engaged in a mass-surveillance scheme all along or has major corruption problems that weren't factored in.

    In practical terms, it has always been advised that anything unencrypted sent over the Internet should be assumed to be snooped upon, and now we merely know how true that assumption always was. Your efforts should be put into ensuring everything is encrypted and hashed using secure algorithms that haven't been broken. Even if your server is physically located in Utopia, whose government never does any surveillance, censorship or takedowns, hackers (government or otherwise) from other countries can compromise your server and take all the data or install backdoors to your encryption efforts, so security is more important than location. Of course, a country that doesn't have a history of raiding datacenters hosting certain materials is still a good idea, but don't forget that your upstream hosting providers are one bribe/threat away from pulling your plug unilaterally, so choose them well too.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      In practical terms, it has always been advised that anything unencrypted sent over the Internet should be assumed to be snooped upon, and now we merely know how true that assumption always was.

      And not by governments, either.

      Everyone's all about "gubmint's spying on me!" when using unencrypted protocols - guess what? Most likely, you're leaving more than a few digital footprints all over the place. And why is it government is bad for spying, when really, anyone can? No one worries about Comcast spying on the

  • Costa Rica (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lkcl ( 517947 )

    costa rica is, geographically, a nexus for the undersea fibre cables. translation: the internet connectivity is *fast*. intel has a major centre there. the advantage of costa rica - apart from being absolutely beautiful and one of the most bio-diverse areas on the planet, is that they have NOT signed CAFTA. as a direct result of this they are still a sovereign nation. also, it's *really* hard to do mass-surveillance when most of the country is covered in dense greenery. you can get a tourist visa then

  • If you're trying to avoid spying on any specific connection, you'd want to distribute and encrypt your data so not everything passes through a single link. There are a number of solutions for that, tracker-less BitTorrent being one of the more famous ones. You can buy a network of small servers all over the globe to serve your data, even partially hosted by Amazon, Google and other supposedly NSA-friendlies and you have a system that will be very hard to spy on.

    You can never protect your (virtual) hardware

  • No escape (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @12:27AM (#50516731) Journal

    If you are smart enough to ask this question and understand why you should want to do so then the only answer is a frontal lobotomy that turns you into one of the ignorant mass of people that generated this state of affairs in the first place. It applies to all western countries however America's Benjamin Franklin summed it up best (to paraphrase) when he said that 'ultimately the demise of *any* democracy comes from the corruption of the people'.

    One only has to look at the TV to see that serious democracy no longer exists, that we have moved from a covert to an overt surveillance state and that you are asking for a way out of the new world order.

    • One only has to look at the TV to see that serious democracy no longer exists, that we have moved from a covert to an overt surveillance state and that you are asking for a way out of the new world order.

      And worse, people seems to have forgotten, or else too young to understand, that things were VERY different for 200 years. I put the beginning of the end with the administration of Reagan. W just finalized the work started in the age of the "moral majority" and the "war on drugs." Of course others may put it further back with McCarthy and the Red Scare.

      • I put it at the time of Wilson and FDR, both big-government, proactive Presidents who represented a shift towards authoritarianism that the majority of the people wanted at the time.

    • One only has to look at the TV to see that serious democracy no longer exists

      I don't disagree, but what do you mean by "serious democracy"? There is no one thing called democracy: there are many ways of running a democratic-like system. It's just unfortunate that in some countries the people seem happy to accept that "voting" == "democracy".

      • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

        One only has to look at the TV to see that serious democracy no longer exists

        I don't disagree, but what do you mean by "serious democracy"? There is no one thing called democracy: there are many ways of running a democratic-like system. It's just unfortunate that in some countries the people seem happy to accept that "voting" == "democracy".

        What I mean by 'serious democracy' is where people actually participate beyond voting in the elections. They write, debate and discuss the affairs of their nation with each other instead of talking about sports or reality tv shows. This whole philosophy of 'don't talk religion or politics' is the bullshit that promotes the ignorance that pervades our society and has effectively turned us into a consumer culture.

        Ignorance is the most unattractive feature of a population, especially with the tools of educati

  • They all have much higher tax rates. If you want to pay lower taxes and convince yourself that the government is leaving you alone, you'll need to go to Somalia or Afghanistan.
  • According to the map (Score:5, Informative)

    by h33t l4x0r ( 4107715 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @12:35AM (#50516749)
    here [wikipedia.org] - the answer is most of Central and South America, most of Africa, most of Europe except for France and Great Britain, Canada, Japan and Philippines
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Northern European states are just about the best for everything. Quality of life in particular. The only potential down-side is that taxes are high, but you get a lot in return.

      • That's good to know. I love my servers like my own family and I'm very concerned about their quality of life.
  • by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @12:52AM (#50516793) Journal
    Pretty low Government involvement in most things. Reasonable taxation, strong protections of private property, a very good economy, and it's a beautiful country. With a pretty low cost of living as well.
  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @01:04AM (#50516821)

    I am afraid there is no general answer, it depends on what you are trying to achieve. Snowden found safe haven in Russia, the country not known for freedom or privacy, because Putin is not interested in protecting western powers. You may well find a totalitarian king who is not interesting in enforcing copyrights. Now imagine your perfect pro-privacy, anti-surveillance country under attack from NSA? Don't you think they would do some surveillance to catch the spooks?

    If you just want to avoid mass surveillance, just locate in any poor country that doesn't have the resources. Syria sounds about right. If you actually want respect for your rights, you have to look for people who share your values.

  • countries that engage in surveillance (ie most of them) don't recognize borders when it comes to engaging in surveillance and most of the ignore the laws of countries that have protections. So no country offers you any protection. Some countries will offer you protection from "Legal" warrants as in they won't recognize warrants from the US or Europe etc, but anywhere that offers that protection requires you to give up a whole lot of other freedoms or be the subject of the whims of dictators etc. basically i
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's not called surveillance, its called telemetry or analytics

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @03:17AM (#50517173) Homepage Journal
    Any protections from Western mil/gov mass surveillance do not exist. The clandestine services work well with each other globally and have great local support in most bandwidth ready nations going back decades (1950's on).
    Switzerland has had decades of top level staff working with, been trained by the US mil. Any request from the US gov over telecommunications issues is just a very friendly chat away.
    Norway offered the UK reconnaissance flights from the 1950's on. A long term working relationship with the US and UK. Iceland, Spain: Western mil support over decades. Re "hosting Internet services and locating VMs"
    Have nothing interesting on them and explore all encryptions options. If your interesting any hardware offered or sold will be shipped with a Tailored Access Operations rebuild. Then face the junk standard encryption as a default- trap door, back door, front doors..
    So just find a good nation with good cheap bandwidth and build your network with the clarity of been part of a global 'collect it all' system. Via the local telco, the hardware, software and all local networks.
  • I'm gonna play devil's advocate and say the USA. On the following logic: the USA is the only country with the capability and desire to perform mass surveillance in pretty much any nation on Earth, so they're your main concern. There's nothing stopping US surveillance agencies from monitoring other nations' citizens, but if you're American, they have to jump through a few hoops before they can look at your data -- FISA court, etc. They're bullshit hoops, I agree, and they won't stop a serious investigatio

  • Luxembourg. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Monday September 14, 2015 @04:36AM (#50517313)

    Luxembourg! First, nobody is interested in spying on them. They have a Navy of half a ship (shared with Belgium) and also one of the US Awacs planes is flying under their flag, that's about their air force.
    They also have 2 old cannons to fire for state celebrations.
    They have 100% cellphone coverage, 100% DSL coverage and in about 3 years also 100% glass fiber coverage.

    And if Paypal ever blocks your account, you can _walk_ to their office with a big stick and demand explanations.

    Disclaimer: I'm from Luxembourg. :-)

    • Re:Luxembourg. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sociocapitalist ( 2471722 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @07:43AM (#50517777)

      Luxembourg! First, nobody is interested in spying on them. They have a Navy of half a ship (shared with Belgium) and also one of the US Awacs planes is flying under their flag, that's about their air force.
      They also have 2 old cannons to fire for state celebrations.
      They have 100% cellphone coverage, 100% DSL coverage and in about 3 years also 100% glass fiber coverage.

      And if Paypal ever blocks your account, you can _walk_ to their office with a big stick and demand explanations.

      Disclaimer: I'm from Luxembourg. :-)

      One of the biggest (monetarily speaking) offshore havens in the world and you honestly think no one is interested?

      I have no doubt that the NSA (etc) have been monitoring your top level communications the same as they have for the rest of Europe (etc).

  • Flatland...they can't perceive more than a slice of your system so the whole thing will stay very secure.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @07:53AM (#50517817) Journal

    Having asked this question in a public forum, you've now drawn the monitoring attention of NSAs bots so it doesn't matter WHAT country you're in (provably).

    Maybe start using more durable, less monitorable tech like a pencil and paper.

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