Government surveillance increased throughout the West in the year following the September 11 terrorist attacks.
A joint study by watchdogs Electronic Privacy Information Center and Privacy International charts increased communications surveillance, weakening of data protection regimes, and increased profiling and identification of individuals post 9/11.
Law enforcement agencies have sought to extend their powers of surveillance in the US, Canada, Australia, India, Singapore and European Union countries, the report notes. In many cases, security services and the police had been seeking tougher powers for year but these proposals were consistently rejected. All that changed with the attacks on the World Trade Center last year, when legislators became inclined to rubber stamp whatever ideas law enforcement put forward.
It's not all bad news though.
According to The 2002 Privacy and Human Rights, laws to protect privacy in the workplace are gaining more support and that efforts to pass new data protection laws are continuing in Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Emerging technologies for identification and surveillance will be key debating points over the next year, according to the report's authors. ®