Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Britain approaches top spot in the Orwellian League

In a study undertaken by CryptoHippie, compiling information from different organizations such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Reporters Without Borders, Freedom House, the Ludwig von Mises Institute and The Heritage Foundation, Britain was ranked 5th out of a total of 52 countries in its adoption of police state measures to track and trace its citizens. The US was close behind in 6th place.

“In an Electronic Police State, every surveillance camera recording, every e-mail you send, every Internet site you surf, every post you make, every check you write, every credit card swipe, every cell phone ping… are all criminal evidence, and they are held in searchable databases, for a long, long time,” the report states. “Whoever holds this evidence can make you look very, very bad whenever they care enough to do so. You can be prosecuted whenever they feel like it – the evidence is already in their database,” the report continues. “Perhaps you trust that your ruler will only use his evidence archives to hurt bad people. Will you also trust his successor? Do you also trust all of his subordinates, every government worker and every policeman?”

“If some leader behaves badly, will you really stand up to oppose him or her? Would you still do it if he had all the e-mails you sent when you were depressed? Or if she has records of every porn site you’ve ever surfed? Or if he knows every phone call you’ve ever made? Or if she knows everyone you’ve ever sent money to?” the report asks.

“This system hasn’t yet reached its full shape, but all of the basics are in place and it is not far from complete in some places,”.

The seventeen factors we included in these rankings are:

Daily Documents
Requirement of state-issued identity documents and registration.

Border Issues
Inspections at borders, searching computers, demanding decryption of data.

Financial Tracking
State’s ability to search and record all financial transactions: Checks, credit card use, wires, etc.

Gag Orders
Criminal penalties if you tell someone the state is searching their records.

Anti-Crypto Laws
Outlawing or restricting cryptography.

Constitutional Protection
A lack of constitutional protections for the individual, or the overriding of such protections.

Data Storage Ability
The ability of the state to store the data they gather.

Data Search Ability
The ability to search the data they gather.

ISP Data Retention
States forcing Internet Service Providers to save detailed records of all their customers’ Internet usage

Telephone Data Retention
States forcing telephone companies to record and save records of all their customers’ telephone usage.

Cell Phone Records
States forcing cellular telephone companies to record and save records of all their customers’ usage.

Medical records
States demanding records from all medical service providers and retaining the same.

Enforcement Ability
The state’s ability to use overwhelming force (exemplified by SWAT Teams) to seize anyone they want, whenever they want.

Habeus Corpus
Lack of habeus corpus – the right not to be held in jail without prompt due process. Or, the overriding of such protections.

Police-Intel Barrier
The lack of a barrier between police organizations and intelligence organizations. Or, the overriding of such barriers.

Covert Hacking
State operatives removing – or adding! – digital evidence to/from private computers covertly. Covert hacking can make anyone appear as any kind of criminal desired.

Loose Warrants
Warrants issued without careful examination of police statements and other justifications
by a truly independent judge.

Top of the list comes China - the great example upon which our movers and shakers model their plans for this country, the US and elsewhere - followed by North Korea, Belarus and Russia with Britain and the US next in line. The Philippines was the least engaged in this Orwellian nightmare, while other European countries enjoy lesser state prying.

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