Leading surveillance societies in the EU and the World 2007

Each year since 1997, the US-based Electronic Privacy Information Center and the UK-based Privacy International have undertaken what has now become the most comprehensive survey of global privacy ever published. The Privacy & Human Rights Report surveys developments in 70 countries, assessing the state of surveillance and privacy protection.

The most recent report published in 2007, available at http://www.privacyinternational.org/phr and may be purchased in book form through EPIC’s website, is probably the most comprehensive single volume report published in the human rights field. The report runs over 1,100 pages and includes 6,000 footnotes. More than 200 experts from around the world have provided materials and commentary. The participants range from eminent privacy scholars to high-level officials charged with safeguarding constitutional freedoms in their countries. Academics, human rights advocates, journalists and researchers provided reports, insight, documents and advice. In 2006 Privacy International took the decision to use this annual report as the basis for a ranking assessment of the state of privacy in all EU countries together with eleven non-EU benchmark countries (click here for the 2006 results). Funding for the project was provided by the Open Society Institute (OSI) and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. Follow this link for more details of last year’s results.

The new 2007 global rankings extend the survey to 47 countries (from the original 37) and, for the first time, provide an opportunity to assess trends.

The intention behind this project is two-fold. First, we hope 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. Second we intend 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.

{This the second year that EPIC and Privacy International have published this survey and ranking of nations. The US is at the bottom, descibed as an “endemic surveillance society”, with “weak protections” for “medical privacy”. The way to restore the privacy of all our personal digital information is to fight for health privacy, and join with Patient Privacy Rights. If we restore the right to health privacy, we will then be able to demand the same control for all of our personal digital information. Americans understand that they have the right to control who can see and use personal medical records, based on the Hippocratic Oath and based on over 200 years of American common and Constitutional law. Our courts have consistently held that our VERY strongest rights to privacy are the rights we have to health privacy, to control the privacy of our health information. ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights}

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