This is description of the lack of protection in a country which was recently downgraded by the Privacy International Organization from being considered an "extensive surveillace society" to the most repressive classification, an "endemnic surveillance society".
These are some of the repressive conditions found in this country:
- No right to privacy in constitution, though search and seizure protections exist in 4th Amendment; case law on government searches has considered new technology
- No comprehensive privacy law, many sectoral laws; though tort of privacy
- FTC continues to give inadequate attention to privacy issues, though issued self-regulating privacy guidelines on advertising in 2007
- State-level data breach legislation has proven to be useful in identifying faults in security
- REAL-ID and biometric identification programs continue to spread without adequate oversight, research, and funding structures
- Extensive data-sharing programs across federal government and with private sector
- Spreading use of CCTV
- Congress approved presidential program of spying on foreign communications over U.S. networks, e.g. Gmail, Hotmail, etc.; and now considering immunity for telephone companies, while government claims secrecy, thus barring any legal action
- No data retention law as yet, but equally no data protection law
- World leading in border surveillance, mandating trans-border data flows
- Weak protections of financial and medical privacy; plans spread for 'rings of steel' around cities to monitor movements of individuals
- Democratic safeguards tend to be strong but new Congress and political dynamics show that immigration and terrorism continue to leave politicians scared and without principle
- Lack of action on data breach legislation on the federal level while REAL-ID is still compelled upon states has shown that states can make informed decisions
- Recent news regarding FBI biometric database raises particular concerns as this could lead to the largest database of biometrics around the world that is not protected by strong privacy law
Of course from the language of the above points, it's easy to deduce that the country I am referring to is The United States. From the information available on The Privacy International Organization website, it is easy to see how tragically and how fast personal freedoms and the right to privacy in America has been systematically dismantled.
This is a fascinating and chilling report which rates 47 countries on a number of points and makes some pretty interesting conclusions. It looks like the countries which have survived and recovered from repressive totalitarianism are the least repressive.
Who would have ever thought Greece would be rated the least repressive and surveillance free countries in Europe?