Australia ranks 8th in the world for government surveillance: study

Globally, in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of accounts specified in data requests for government surveillance increased from 0.9 million to 1.3 million – Australia ranking 8th in government surveillance, according to the latest study by cybersecurity firm Surfshark

The Surfshark study shows that Australia ranks 8th based on online accounts requested by authorities from 2013 to 2020 (257 accounts per 100,000 people), compared to the United States (1st with 585/100 000) and in the United Kingdom (3rd with 486/100,000).

The study also reveals that Australia made 284% more requests than the global average (67/100,000), while the latest data also reveals that all countries have requested more than 5 million accounts combined over a 8 year period.

According to Surfshark, in total, more than 5 million accounts were requested in 177 countries from 2013 to 2020, with a steady increase in recent years.





Research shows that US and European authorities request the most data and that Apple responded to the most requests for user data (80%) compared to Microsoft, Facebook and Google (69% to 72% ).

Surfshark notes that its research analyzes requests for user data that Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft received from 177 countries and local authorities between 2013 and 2020 – and that the instances of requests are linked to government surveillance and corruption. law enforcement when digital evidence is needed in court. process.

On global trends, Surfshark syss study shows government surveillance is increasing and the number of accounts requested globally more than quadrupled between 2013 and 2020, with 2020 seeing the largest year-over-year increase by nearly 40%. – with Australia showing the same trend, with an increase of 136% (2x) from 2013 to 2020 – and in raw numbers this represents over 65580 accounts in these 8 years, while requested accounts have increased 36% in 2020 compared to 2019.

“The massive growth in online crime in 2020 has gone hand in hand with the increase in data requests received by Big Tech companies,” says Agneska Sablovskaja, principal researcher at Surfshark.

“Overall, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a staggering year-over-year growth in accounts requested for government surveillance from 0.9 million to 1.3 million. This could be attributed to any what’s happening online, including crime.”

The study notes that US and European authorities request the most data, with the US and Europe accounting for nearly two-thirds of all interest accounts from 2013 to 2020.

However, the US claimed more than double the counts per 100,000 people than all EU countries combined – and looking at the top 10, five countries are in the EU, and the UK, l australia, singapore and taiwan comprise the rest.

The study shows that the disclosure rate has steadily increased to around 1.5% year-on-year – and Google and Microsoft received the highest percentage of accounts disclosed to Australian authorities, 76% and 75 % respectively.

Globally, from 2013 to 2020, the number of disclosed claims increased by almost 280%. Apple has led disclosure rates since 2016, increasing from 75% in 2016 to 85% in 2020. The remaining companies, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, average 70%. More than half (58%) of all requests Apple complied with originated from the United States.

The study notes that Google’s disclosure rate has increased by almost 4% every year since 2016, and peaked at 76% in 2020, placing Google in 2nd place behind Apple. Facebook’s disclosure rate has slowly declined, although it is still significantly higher than in 2013 (73% vs. 63%) – and while Microsoft had the highest disclosure rate between 2013 and 2015, it has the lowest percentage of requests satisfied out of any company since 2018.

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