The more the data disclosed by Snowden are analyzed, the bigger Personal Data Privacy worries become, as the news from my last post are showing; so let me come back to the subject, but from another point of view.
In my last post, speaking about the dilemma between Personal Data Privacy and Europe’s Cloud Regulation, we simplify the problem and make a trick: we mix any kind of personal data from basic data (name, age, sex, …, phone numbers, addresses: post, e-mail, social networks, etc.), to phone and internet conversations and communications, trough hobbies, preferences, likes and so on.
Of course a lot of legal and ethical business can be done with those data (if you decide to make them public): from direct one-to-one marketing that offers only what you can really be interested in (e.g. adventure travels if you love them) and doesn’t disturb you what anything else (e.g. not offering you meal foods if you are vegetarian), to corporate image watching or legal technology watching, through social network based results forecasts, and so on. But also it must be ensured that these data are not used to discriminate you on the basis of your religion, political or sexual preferences for mentioning only a clear example. So I think all of us will agree that some protection is needed, especially when we are speaking about human and civil rights. In reverse, copying from other blog, maybe you can agree with Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague who last June said: “If you are a law-abiding citizen of this country going about your business and your personal life you have nothing to fear about the British state or the intelligence services listening to your phone calls or anything like that”, but my perception is that a lot of citizens (as me) will think that those unfortunate words are laying the foundations for a dangerous police-state mentality.
The BSA (Business Software Alliance), an organization I have a lot of discrepancies with (because of the way they use to get its goals), in the beginning of the year published a report (see my post titled “Cloud Computing Countries Ranking, or the Cloud Confusion even among market analyses: BSA vs Gartner vs IDC” on 25th March 2013) about the best 24 countries prepared for the Cloud. The countries were scored taking into account their laws and regulations for provision of cloud watching seven areas: 1.- data privacy, 2.- cyber security, 3.- cyber crime control, 4.- preservation of intellectual property, 5.- technology interoperability and legal harmonization, 6.- free trade, and 7.- infrastructure IT; in other words, if they have a comprehensive suite of modern laws that support and facilitate the digital economy and cloud computing. And its result was that the top ten countries are Japan, Australia, Germany, United States, France, Italy, UK, Korea, Spain, and Singapore. (Please, note the big European countries presence: Germany in the 3rd place, and France in the 5th, Italy in the 6th, United Kingdom in the 7th and Spain in the 9th, contradicting in some way the aforementioned Gartner report). Moreover, curiously BSA does take into account as first criterion “data privacy”, so I wonder what its weigh was in the final score, because it isn’t the strong point of the United States, is it?. So I think we need to explore deeper this “data privacy” criterion …
Focusing only on the latter subject, I mean the data privacy criterion, the top 5 countries ranked best for privacy are Spain, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Norway, and Slovenia, according to BackgroundChecks.org that uses 6 criteria (the fist 4 are positive and the 2 last are negative) to rank them:
- Government has privacy laws
- There are fines for violating privacy laws
- Government actively protect free speech
- Government does not restrict access to Internet
- Government use spyware
- Government filters or censors the Internet
This picture is extracted from an infographic that you can find here: http://techcitynews.com/2013/10/15/these-5-countries-were-ranked-best-for-privacy-infographic/.
This infographic also has an area dedicated to the countries that spies to its citizens as US, China, Malaysia, Syria, Nigeria, Iran and Bahrain, explaining the reasons why they have the dubious honour of being placed in this shame corner. (Note: you can get it in the above reference/link)