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Global Surveillance Monitor

In-depth reports on the current state of privacy in 195 countries around the world.

The newest incarnation of the Global Surveillance Monitor ("GSM") is a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive resource that aims to provide an open and current data set on all laws governing the surveillance and privacy of individuals worldwide.

Currently, accessing and comparing surveillance laws around the world is an arduous and time-consuming process, which often leads to unclear, unreliable, or incomplete results. Yet, access to law is fundamental to an individual's ability to participate fully in society. 

To facilitate that participation, we are developing GSM to create greater understanding of surveillance and privacy laws, how they compare across jurisdictions, and how they affect individuals. We hope that this ambitious project will provide what has thus far been unavailable: a one-stop shop for every country's surveillance and privacy laws.

GSM also seeks to address the issue of interoperability, a common difficulty many organisations have when integrating the valuable data they produce. By providing all the data in the form of RDF, a global standard for data publishing, our approach will allows us to integrate with existing databases in a seamless manner, while also allowing other organisations to use our data without any need to convert it between formats.

For over fifteen years, Privacy International has been co-publishing the 'Privacy and Human Rights' reports, global surveys of recent privacy developments. These studies have become the benchmark global review, used by international organisations, regulators and politicians to advance privacy protections in their own countries. The last global study was released in 2007 and was over 1,200 pages long. The global comparative map we published has been downloaded over a million times and republished hundreds of times in newspapers, blogs, research papers and books. In January 2011, we published a European study that analysed the national privacy and data protection landscapes of 33 European countries.

We are now using this expertise to build a transparent resource that will provide comprehensive, reliable and current data regarding global privacy and surveillance laws, ranging from constitutional privacy protections to data protection legislation to the rules governing communications surveillance.

By providing tools that can compare data, in the form of these legal provisions across jurisdictions, we hope to enable academic institutions, corporations, lawyers, NGOs, and policy makers to understand and advocate for better privacy protections worldwide.

Global Surveillance Monitor

In the media
Publisher: 
The Register
Publication date: 
07-Jun-2013
Author(s): 
Iain Thompson
Original story link: 

"If the government can get phone numbers of two parties, unique identifiers like IMSI and IMEI, trunk identifiers, and time and duration of call, all listed within the court order, then the Obama administration's justification of 'We don't access content' does not matter," said Mike Rispoli, spokesman for Privacy International.

Countries: 
Blog
Carly Nyst's picture

In a landmark report, the United Nations today has broken its long-held silence about the threat that State surveillance poses to the enjoyment of the right to privacy.

The report is clear: State surveillance of communications is ubiquitous, and such surveillance severely undermines citizens’ ability to enjoy a private life, freely express themselves and enjoy their other fundamental human rights. Presented today at the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, the report marks the first time the UN has emphasised the centrality of the right to privacy to democratic principles and the free flow of speech and ideas.

Blast
Mike Rispoli's picture

Privacy International is building a comprehensive resource of the world's surveillance and privacy laws, and we need your help. As part of the Global Surveillance Monitor project, recent tasks undertaken by volunteers have included: researching the right to privacy in constitutions around the world, locating and analyzing the EU's data retention laws, and researching global data protection regimes. We need additional help on two of these projects, in the form of: 

(1) identifying native-language versions of the world's constitutions, and
(2) further researching global data protection regimes. 

Each volunteer will have the opportunity to work alongside Privacy International's small, passionate team as we work to build a global privacy resource. We're looking for volunteers who are sufficiently interested in various aspects of the privacy field that they find enjoyable some of the 'grunt work' entailed in these tasks.

Blog
Anna Fielder's picture

Today, a coalition of civil rights groups, including Privacy International, launched a report and campaign website, http://nakedcitizens.eu, which calls on EU Members of Parliament (MEPs) to protect fundamental rights to privacy in a crucial vote next month. Concerned citizens and consumers are able to contact their MEPs directly via the website.

The story so far: early last year the European Commission published proposed revisions to the Union’s outdated legal framework on data protection. The proposals strengthen existing rights and attempt to ensure that legislation is more effectively enforced.  For the past year however, as previously reported on this blog, the proposals have been systematically eroded in their passage through the various committees of the European Parliament. 

Blog
Carolin Moeller's picture

In November 2012 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in M.M v. the United Kingdom that retention and disclosure of a job applicant’s police records to potential employers was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court ruled that the practice cannot be regarded as being in accordance with the law. This judgment is a key step in establishing privacy rights over data held by the police, and comes at an important time when governments are rewriting the rules around data retention and disclosure practices in the criminal sphere. 

The case concerns M.M (the applicant) who abducted her grandson for three days in 2000 in order to prevent the girlfriend of her son from going back to Australia with the applicant’s grandson. The UK Director of Public Prosecutions considered the case as a family issue and a minor offence. He therefore administered a caution, instead of pursuing court proceedings. 

Blog
Eric King's picture

Privacy International has compiled data on the privacy provisions in national constitutions around the world, including which countries have constitutional protections, whether they come from international agreements, what aspects of privacy are actually protected and when those protections were enacted. We are pleased to make this information available under a Creative Commons license for organizations, researchers, students and the community at large to use to support their work (and hopefully contribute to a greater understanding of privacy rights).

The categories

Though the right to privacy exists in several international instruments, the most effective privacy protections come in the form of constitutional articles. Varying aspects of the right to privacy are protected in different ways by different countries. Broad categories include:

Report
26-Jan-2011

Privacy International, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Center for Media and Communications Studies (CMCS), are pleased to present the study "European Privacy and Human Rights (EPHR) 2010", funded by the European Commission's Special Programme "Fundamental Rights and Citizenship," 2007-2013.

EPHR investigates the European landscape of national privacy/data protection laws and regulations as well as any other laws or recent factual developments with and impact on privacy. The study consists of 33 targeted reports, an overview presenting a comparative legal and policy analysis of main privacy topics and a privacy ranking for all the countries surveyed.

Privacy International has conducted an analysis of the country reports. Our research team has taken additional information from other sources to provide the summary information below for each country, noting the key developments and identifying the state of affairs.

Report
01-Jan-2011

The Council of Europe

The Council of Europe is distinct from the EU. In 1950 the Council of Europe adopted the European Convention on Human Rights, which is currently applicable in all EU member states.1 Article 8 paragraph 1 of the ECHR declares that everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.2 Paragraph 2 states that the above mentioned right is not absolute in that it may be acceptable for public authorities to limit it when the "interference" is "in accordance with law" and "necessary in a democratic society" in pursuit of one or more of the following legitimate aims: "in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic wellbeing of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

Report
01-Jan-2011

This report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in the European Union. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013. Updates to the 2010 report have been provided by Gloria González Fuster at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Maria Grazia Porcedda at the European University Institute and Matteo E. Bonfanti, at the Centre for Media and Communication Studies, Central European University. 

We aim to keep our knowledge of the state of privacy across the world as up-to-date as possible - it is a huge undertaking and we are always keen to gather more local knowledge. If you have some information to share or you spot an error, please drop us a line at info@privacy.org. If you would like to support this crucial research project, please consider making a donation.  

 

Report
01-Jan-2011

This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in Cyprus. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013.

We aim to keep our knowledge of the state of privacy across the world as up-to-date as possible - it is a huge undertaking and we are always keen to gather more local knowledge. If you have some information to share or you spot an error, please drop us a line at info@privacy.org. If you would like to support this crucial research project, please consider making a donation

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