UK drops to 4th in “most snooped on population” league

Some welcome (On the surface) news today, that the UK is no longer the most spied upon population online, going by Google’s data. The most recent half-yearly Transparency Report shows that, when analysed per-capita, we’ve dropped down into 4th place.

Rank Country Requests 2011H2
1 United States 25.7 3 20.4
2 France 23.6 2 21.5
3 Australia 23.3 5 19.8
4 United Kingdom 23.0 1 23.5
5 Germany 18.7 6 17.4
6 Singapore 17.5 4 20.1
7 Portugal 17.3 8 13.8
8 Italy 13.9 7 14.0
9 Taiwan 11.7 10 9.7
10 Spain 11.5 13 8.4

(Requests refers to the number of user data requests submitted to Google in the half year period, per million people)

Sadly, the real story is a little more depressing. The number of requests in the first half of 2012 has remained relatively static at 23 requests per million people. The UK has lost it’s top spot purely because other countries – the US, France and Australia – have all increased their activity.

China, traditionally regarded as more authoritarian online, remains relatively low down the list coming in at 31st with just 0.1 requests per million. This is probably due to the lower internet usage in that country, coupled with greater state snooping allowing them to figure out users identity without involving Google.