Australian authorities among world’s biggest requesters of personal data

Big Tech is sharing personal info as authorities run roughshod over privacy protections.

privacy breach - surveilling eye at a digital keyhole in a binary wall

Authorities are requesting personal data from major tech companies at three times the rate of a few years ago, according to new figures that found Australians are the world’s tenth most-surveilled populace. And the surveillance is only increasing, with multiple audits showing questionable access of citizens’ data by police and other authorities.

The most invasive countries in terms of social media requests

Australian authorities lodged 195 requests for user data per 100,000 people, according to a new Surfshark analysis of 3.1 million requests made by the governments of 66 countries to Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple between 2013 and 2020.

That reflected an overall increase of 213% since 2013. And, while US authorities made 1.1 million of those requests—ranking fifth with 334 requests per 100,000 population—European countries actually dominated the Top 10 list, with Malta (765), Germany (353), the UK (336), France (315), Ireland (302), and Luxembourg (246) reflecting the surveillance culture on that continent.

Singapore, with 373 requests per 100,000, was ranked the second-most-intrusive government, while—in a likely reflection of a government that already collects massive volumes of information about its citizens directly—China ranked last, with just 362 requests over the eight-year period.

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