Countries that don't spy on their citizens ala NSA?
August 9, 2013 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Obviously this question was promoted by Ed Snowden and his disclosure of NSA data collection on American citizens. The NSA is basically recording everything it can get its hands on, be it foreign intelligence or data on American citizens, even if the latter isn't in any way suspected of wrongdoing. The agency is simply collecting and storing everything, seemingly with little regard to the US 4th amendment, which guarantees against "unreasonable searches and seizures".

What countries not only frown on NSA's data collection techniques, but actually:

1. work to prevent spying on its citizens from internal agencies unless a wrongdoing is suspected

2. Insist on having a warrant (or something similar) before allowing national agencies to monitor citizens or their electronic records. Ideally this warrant (or something similar) would have be approved by a legislative authority who actually looks at and evaluates the reason for the warrant and has the power to deny it if evidence is deemed lacking.

Apologies if I've mistaken some element or am not clear.
posted by Brandon Blatcher to Law & Government (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Not sure if this is what you are looking for but Privacy is tracked by Privacy International

I can only find a ranking from 2007 which already lists the US as a surveillance state and gives top marks to Greece followed by Romania, Hungary, Canada and Argentina. Although it notes that Canada is rapidly decaying.
posted by vacapinta at 9:31 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not a direct answer to your question but here is a book How To Be Invisible by an international security consultant who divulges various methods of protecting yourself. I only just bought it myself - haven't read it yet - but it comes highly recommended.

Also, if you are interested in such matters, you may consider donating to Lavabit's defense fund as they challenge the constitutionality of the US spying on its citizens.
posted by rada at 9:37 AM on August 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Not a direct answer to your question but here is a book How To Be Invisible...

Thanks, but totally not what I'm looking for. This is a touchy subject with lots interesting angles and side subjects, but I really am just interested in what countries are doing a good job of actively protecting the rights of its citizens.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:42 AM on August 9, 2013

I doubt there is a government in existence which doesn't want to track its civilians. To the extent that they don't, it would be because of lack of resources, not lack of will.

And it doesn't take much. Even dirt-poor nations like Cuba have secret police.

If you don't want a government to track you, you're only going to get that by moving someplace where there isn't any effective government, like Somalia. (Of course, there are tradeoffs to such choices too.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:04 AM on August 9, 2013 [6 favorites]

Yeah, I am going to have to say that Somalia is going to be your best choice. There's a pretty clear correlation between "doesn't keep track of it's citizens" and "non-functioning" when it comes to governments.
posted by sideshow at 10:42 AM on August 9, 2013

Also from Privacy International: What do constitutional privacy protections look like around the world?

This doesn't gauge how closely the country actually sticks to its privacy protections, but just collects constitutional privacy protections granted in various countries (selected at random) around the world.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:29 PM on August 9, 2013

Response by poster: This doesn't gauge how closely the country actually sticks to its privacy protections...

That's more of what I'm looking for. Does anyone have a link to any recent studies that have tracked or attempted to track, this element?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:56 PM on August 9, 2013

Sorry I can't answer your question more directly, but you might be interested in this article about Canada.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 1:11 PM on August 9, 2013

Maybe Freedom House on Internet Freedom, Media Freedom, Rule of Law, etc.

global reports, the net report is now a bit stale: Freedom In the World, Freedom on the Net

Slate report: Freedom House will downgrade the USA's internet freedom ranking.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:13 PM on August 9, 2013

Open Net Initiative also has country and regional reports and rankings/data. Main Map.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:18 PM on August 9, 2013

World Justice Program's Rule of Law Index and Annual Report [2012-2013] (raw dataset, sortable rankings, and audit by European Commission Joint Research Ctr. also available).
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:22 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

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