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Last Updated: Monday, 31 December 2007, 13:21 GMT
Privacy rights 'fragile' in 2007
Computer disks, Getty Images
More and more data is being gathered about citizens
Threats to personal privacy got more severe in 2007, a report has claimed.

Compiled by Privacy International and the Electronic Privacy Information Center the report details global trends in privacy protection and surveillance.

It found that in 2007 more nations than ever ranked as places where surveillance had become "endemic".

The move toward greater surveillance had left the fundamental right to a private life "fragile and exposed", the report said.

Complex threat

The 1,000 page report from the two campaigning groups details what governments, companies and lobby groups have done in the past 12 months to defend or dismantle privacy online or offline.

Overall, wrote the report's authors, privacy protection "worsened" during 2007.

As in previous years the report found no nation which consistently tried to uphold privacy or gave substantial help, legislative or otherwise, to protect personal data.

Greece topped the table of 47 countries ranked in the report and was the only one that was identified as having "adequate safeguards against abuse".

Most countries surveyed were classed as having "some safeguards but weakened protections" or a "systemic failure" to defend citizen's private lives.

In 2007 the survey found surveillance "endemic" in nine countries - compared to five in 2006.

The nine were - England, Wales, Malaysia, China, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the US.

The report said that greater scrutiny of citizens grew out of two trends - government efforts to beef up national security and a burgeoning industry built around surveillance or the data it collects.

It noted that action by lobby groups or campaigners to protect privacy were "marginal" and added that any substantive effort to fight back could struggle against the complex and diverse threats ranged against privacy.

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