Report: United States scores average on privacy

The United States scores better in protecting privacy than do the United Kingdom, Russia and China but worse than Australia, Canada and the rest of the European Union, according to a new report issued by Privacy International, a British organization.

The United States earned an overall grade of 2.0 out of 5, the eighth lowest overall in the world, followed by Thailand, graded 1.9; Philippines, 1.9; UK, 1.5; Singapore, 1.4; Russia, 1.4; Malaysia, 1.3; and China, 1.3.

In the categories of enacting and enforcing privacy laws, and intercepting communications, the United States was ranked at the bottom, along with Russia and the Philippines. The United States and Singapore received the lowest privacy-protection scores in the category of workplace monitoring. However, the United States scored a 3 out of 5 in maintaining constitutional protections for privacy.

The United States is listed as an "extensive" surveillance society, while the United Kingdom and Russia are listed as "endemic" surveillance societies.

The countries with the most effective safeguards against privacy abuses are Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany and Greece, according to the study.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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