Developing countries block, developed countries spy.

The 2013 Web Index has just been published and amongst its various conclusions it finds that whilst developing countries are most likely to block or filter the web, developed countries are more likely to spy on online communications.

Whilst the UK comes third top, overall in this assessment of the Web’s empowering people, it falls to 24th out of 81 on the index of “freedom and openness.” This sub-Index “assesses the extent to which citizens enjoy rights to information, opinion, expression, safety and privacy online” (Definition here.)

The Web Index found that only five countries in its sample of 81 meet best practice standards with regards to the privacy of electronic communications. The UK drops in the ranking here because a non-particularised warrant is sufficient for interception (Web Index 2013 Report, 3.3).

It’s not that we’re faced with a choice between being blocked or spied upon. There are, as the report demonstrates, more robust protocols for appropriate interception available.

The full report is available here.

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