Tim Wu starts the article with the following,
Chances are that as you read this article, it is passing over part of AT&T’s network. That matters, because last week AT&T announced that it is seriously considering plans to examine all the traffic it carries for potential violations of U.S. intellectual property laws. The prospect of AT&T, already accused of spying on our telephone calls, now scanning every e-mail and download for outlawed content is way too totalitarian for my tastes. But the bizarre twist is that the proposal is such a bad idea that it would be not just a disservice to the public but probably a disaster for AT&T itself. If I were a shareholder, I’d want to know one thing: Has AT&T, after 122 years in business, simply lost its mind?
Ciitzens weren’t happy about governmental spying (see previous posting). How much less excited will the Citizenry be about spying on us for corporations and entertainment cartels?
There are way too many dangers to the health of a society to turn the country into a surveillance state or basically a police state for anyone’s (private individual, corporate or governmental) interests:
Beware rise of Big Brother state, warns data watchdog (TimesOnline – August 2004):
Mark Oaten, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said he was concerned about the proliferation of databases: â€œWhile the Government can sometimes justify each measure individually, the danger is that we are slipping into a Big Brother society by stealth.â€
Privacy International has come out with their international privacy rankings and determinations of the worldâ€™ leading surveillance societies. The 2007 rankings indicate â€œan overall worsening of privacy protection across the world, reflecting an increase in surveillance and a declining performance of privacy safeguards.â€ One category the report is the surveillance of â€œmedical and financial movementâ€ in which countries like the U.S. and the U.K. (and others) are deemed countries with the worst records providing â€œweak protections of financial and medical privacy.â€
BOLD emphasis mine. The State of Privacy Map – Leading surveillance societies in the EU and the World 2007 (28/12/2007) shows the USA, the UK and others notated as ‘endemic surveillance societies.’ The site states the following in overview in the article below the map:
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 study and the accompanying ranking chart measure the extent of surveillance and privacy. They do not intend to comprehensively reflect the state of democracy or the full extent of legal or parliamentary health or dysfunction in these countries (though the two conditions are frequently linked). The aim of this study is to present an assessment of the extent of information disclosure, surveillance, data exploitation and the general state of information privacy.
The article below the map and tables has many details including criteria used, and below that, a country-by-country summary. Compare for instance: SLOVENIA with the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM in the list. Amazing.
I personally found the results for the USA so saddening by comparison to some of the countries that protect their Citizens’s privacy and rights and liberties, freedoms! It is little wonder that over the years, government and corporate, banking and entertainment interests (did I leave anyone out?) could do what they have to the rights, freedoms, liberties of the REAL Citizenry of the United States of America. Certainly just one of many building blocks of heralding the end of the Republic, sad to say).
While you are looking at the map, and articles, compare CANADA on the 2006 map with the 2007 map. Sad to see CANADA which had enjoyed extensive protections notated on the previous year’s map (light blue) now showing a weakening in protection (yellow) toward it’s Citizens in 2007.
And stuff like this — I would imagine that stuff like this is not limited to the RNC, but they were the ones who got caught at it. — A March 2007 NYTimes “report from Jim Dwyer stirred up the blogosphere – Blogtalk: Under Surveillance (empirezone.blogs.nytimes.com)
Thanks Tween for calling attention to the the Slate article that started this posting.