Which countries are best at protecting your privacy?

Globe data

We all know that standards of privacy and surveillance vary around the world. But which places are best at protecting your privacy?

Research from security testing site Comparitech finds that no single country is consistent in protecting the privacy of its citizens, most are actively monitoring citizens, and only five could be deemed to have 'adequate safeguards'.

Countries were scored across a number of categories including statutory prediction, data sharing and visual surveillance. That China's government not only fails to protect citizens' privacy, but actively invades it probably comes as no surprise. However, the study also shows collection and retention of biometric data, such as fingerprints and faces, is ramping up worldwide.

EU countries tend to share a large amount of their citizens' data with fellow member states. On overall scores, Ireland is ranked best within the EU followed by France, Portugal and Denmark in joint second. The UK is joint third with the Netherlands, Greece, the Czech Republic and others. The bottom five EU nations are Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, Germany and Spain.

The top five non-EU countries are Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, Argentina and Canada. The US though ranks seventh from bottom, this is partly down to increased use of biometrics, but also because businesses are often able to set their own guidelines for processing personal data.

"Data protection in the US is governed by multiple sectoral laws and laws also differ by state," says privacy advocate and VPN expert Paul Bischoff writing on the Comparitech blog. "This can cause some confusion and inconsistency, and it can leave some huge gaps in certain areas/states. Nevertheless, some of the governing bodies actively pursue data privacy. For example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently fined Facebook $5 billion for privacy violations."

Bottom ranked outside the EU is China one place below Russia. India, Thailand and Malaysia make up the bottom five.

You can see the full detail of the study on the Comparitech blog.

Image Credit: Toria / Shutterstock

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