Now, I’m not here to scare you, quite the opposite. Being informed of what’s going on in the world and who can see what is important to understand what’s to gain from people accessing your personal data.
Unsurprisingly, China is the most surveilled country in the world, with the most surveillance cameras per 1,000 people. We’ve done our research and compiled all of the data together to bring you a list of the world’s most surveilled countries in the world.
Top 10 Most Surveilled Countries
In terms of CCTV cameras, and surveillance per 10,000 people, the top most watched countries in the world are as followed.
If we look at cities alone, 9 out of the 10 most surveilled cities are in China. China is the most surveilled country in the world, along with the most surveilled cities too:
Why Are Counties Hot On Surveillance?
The common thought around why countries use CCTVs is due to crime. However, there doesn’t actually seem to be much correlation on that notion. According to IHS Markit, CCTVs are going to hit over 1 billion worldwide during 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic has been a big reason behind the increased push for CCTV globally. Many countries and cities are resorting to facial recognition CCTV cameras to attempt to control outbreaks and infection rates in certain areas. In order to get back to some kind of resemblance of normality, this trend is only likely to increase.
On the other hand, places like Singapore and Hong Kong have banned facial recognition technology due to growing concerns over privacy. In June 2020, Boston banned the use of facial recognition by the police and city agencies. There are two sides to the coin of course; advantages and disadvantages to each.
What Is China Trying To Gain?
Given the size of their population, it may not come as much of a surprise that China is the number 1 most watched country in the world. CCTV cameras in China account for more than one camera per every citizen across the major cities.
If you’re trying to hide your identity, China is certainly not the best place to do it. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and even Google are banned in China. Instead, China’s citizens are allowed to use strict government-approved social media websites. Everything here is monitored with China earning the titles for the most-watched citizens in the world.
Many foreign websites and even China’s own Wikipedia page is blocked. One permitted service is Apple. Asia manufacturers the majority of iPhones and Apple products, with over 0.6 requests per 10,000 people for Apple data.
What About Second And Third Place?
The USA has approximately two cameras for every 10 people. After the US’s recent attack on the Capitol building, it’s really no surprise that they are tightening up on security and looking to eliminate any potential risks. Domestic and international terrorism are both hot topics and will likely continue in this way for the foreseeable future. Despite there being much debate over online privacy, and some states banning it completely, over 800,000 personal data requests were made in 2019 alone.
In the same year, the UK made over 117,000 personal data requests. There’s one CCTV camera for every 16 citizens in large cities like London. There have been a lot of accusations over how the UK deals with personal information, with reports of there being bulk databases containing such information. In 2020, the EU court had to put a limit on the UK’s surveillance activities, however, after officially leaving the EU in 2021, these enforcements are no longer in place.
Online censorship is used in other countries allowing governments to have controls over the platforms and websites that their citizens are allowed to use. Instead of spending the time and resources trying to monitor these sites, countries like China, Iran, and North Korea block the likes of Twitter and other websites.
North Korea, Iran, and Syria also have blocked Facebook entirely in their countries. CCTV figures are hard to obtain for these countries, unsurprisingly. Research suggests under 30 websites are permitted in North Korea, and of those websites, all of them are government-owned. Even websites that have been built by website builders like Wix are partially blocked in China.
Online Privacy Statistics 2021
- 33% of US internet users are aware of their country’s data protection and privacy rules
- 9% of US internet users believe digital privacy is a myth
- 13% of US internet users are willing to share contact details online to avoid paying for content
- Around 50% of US internet users were more concerned about their online privacy in 2019 compared to 2018
- According to the Freedom House Index, the US came in 10th place for the degree of internet freedom
- 33% of internet users worldwide change their passwords regularly
- 23% of US consumers trust social media ads
- 39,536 data requests were made to Google from US federal agencies and courts in 2020
- 41% of US adults feel uncomfortable with tech companies sharing location data with the government
- 20% of US adults would use an app to track COVID-19 exposure