back to article Britain leads world in police state survey

A recent survey from internet security consultancy, Cryptohippie, suggests that the UK is setting the pace in at least one area - though being classified as the West’s most repressive regime when it comes to electronic surveillance might not be a title that this government is entirely happy to wear. This result emerges from …


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  1. Jimmy Floyd

    All very true

    Even if they do have a vested interest in the target market, the report might carry a bit more weight if the company concerned weren't called "CryptoHIPPIE."

    Eric Cartman would have an e-fit (geddit? Oh, please yourselves).

  2. Ted Treen
    Black Helicopters

    Frau Schmidt's election slogan...

    Widerstand ist zwecklos; sie werden assimiliert

  3. Eddie Edwards


    The UK does not come in at number 5.

    Arbitrarily, cryptohippie has split the UK into "England and Wales" and "Scotland".

    England and Wales comes in #5 but Scotland comes in #13 giving the UK an averaged position of about #9, behind USA, Singapore, Israel and possibly France.

    Why cryptohippie did this is a matter for guesswork, but one might presume they wanted the UK to come in ahead of the USA for their own political reasons.

    The only question this all raises is who the fuck are cryptohippie and why should I care what their obviously biased report says?

  4. Matthew Ellen

    I bet the government are pleased

    They've wanted this power all along, now they're told they're the best at using it. Why would they even consider changing?

  5. Sergie Kaponitovicz
    Black Helicopters

    Actually the UK is joint 4th with Russia

    Pull down the xls file and you will see that the UK and Russia both score an overall index of 3.176470588. Wacky Jackie has done even better than this article suggests.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Someone needs to say it

    Break out the Guy Fawkes masks then.

  7. Stu
    Paris Hilton

    @Eddie Edwards

    Umm, because Scotland have different laws to England and Wales, you dumbass?

    Paris, because you seem to have similar intelligence levels...

  8. bob


    Can we get surveillance added as an olympic event in time for 2012? Would be nice for GBR to get a gold on the home turf.

  9. Matt

    Re: Wrong

    Actually, you're failing to take into account the distribution of powers to the Scottish Executive that allow them to control certain aspects of their electronic monitoring. As such it is quite proper to split the UK by England/Wales and Scotland. Quite where Northern Ireland has gone is another question!

  10. Nicholas Smith

    @Eddie Edwards

    Scotland isn't classed as with England/Wales as they have their own parliament and do it their way when it comes to the justice system, which I'm guessing covers the points they're marking the report on so would make sense for it to be split

  11. David

    @Eddie Edwards

    Calm down a minute sir, England & Wales IS a seperate jurisdiction to Scotland, they have different rules north of the border, as can be seen by the different approach to DNA retention. It is perfectly acceptable that they've been seperated out and is not indicative of some cryptohippie based conspiracy to rank us worse than the US. is perfectly capable of conspiring to place us higher than the US without any outside help!

  12. Anonymous Coward

    @ Eddie Edwards

    "Why cryptohippie did this is a matter for guesswork"

    Umm because the laws are different?

    There is a big difference between English Law and Scottish Law, just ask any Law student, Solicitor, Accountant, etc etc

  13. RichyS
    Thumb Down

    Wrong Eddie, Wrong

    While I agree with the first comment, that Cryptohippie would have a lot more credibility with a significantly less stupid name, I have to take real exception to your post.

    Great Britain will have been split into 'England & Wales', and 'Scotland' on account of the fact that the laws for those two regions are significantly different in key areas, and that the law making bodies are different. Ask a lawyer, if you know any (other than court assigned ones). The only mistake here has been in El Reg's headline writing.

    You then compound this mistake by confusing Great Britain with the United Kingdom. The latter includes N Ireland, the former does not.

    And furthermore, doing a rather basic 'add together then divide by 2' average to get the score for GB rather diminishes the effect that population sizes within the two regions would have. Even taking Scotland into account, the result for Britain would be very much closer to the England & Wales score than the Scotland score.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Eh? We're supposed to take them seriously with a name like that? Why?

  15. James

    @Eddie Edwards

    Because Scotland has different policing powers to England and Wales.

    Also because the population of Scotland is approximately 10% of England and Wales the "weighted" average is nearer 6th place NOT 9th !

    Not sure that the position really matters - just the apparent fact that we're being watched and info gathered continuously...... by people who may or may not have the potential to become dictators / extremists ......

    'Fraid I no longer trust the politicians - they can't even be trusted with their expenses... and they'll be looking for revenge on Joe Public for having been forced to reveal them AND having caused not a few of their number to quit !

  16. michael

    @eddie edwards

    they prob did it cos england and scotland have different laws in regards to some data things (like DNA data base for "criminals" for example) so it is prob for admin reasons not ploticle reasons

    "never attribute to conspiracy what can be explained by cock-up"

  17. Eddy Ito

    Outdated? Not so much.

    "The problem with these images is that they are horribly outdated."

    Perhaps that is true back in Blighty. I present as evidence that it remains standard practice here in the US:,0,5425985.story

  18. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Well, ehm...

    This all becomes much more interesting when you compare the worlds military budgets. The Brits seem to be repressing^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hproviding homeland security at only a fraction of the costs of the Americans.

    It seems, IT really /does/ cut costs. That's just doubleplus good isn't it?

  19. Wayland Sothcott

    slowly sleepwalking....

    "Britain is slowly sleepwalking toward becoming a surveillance society"

    Oh come on, it's going as fast as it can. Any faster and there would be technical problems stopping it happen.

    Also the police do knock down your door in the early hours of the morning. And they do drag people and throw them into vans. They do herd large groups of people into a tight space then charge at them. They do expect you to phone the anti-terror hotline on 0800 789 321 if you don't like the way your neighbour puts her hair bleach bottles on top of her dustbin.

    Not only that but they are getting businesses involved in all this bulshite. A company I visit has a notice on the door about swine flu and how you must not enter if you have been near pigs or have a cold.

    Cirtainly the older doctors are not pushing statins and flu virus on everyone, but the younger more ambitious ones are. The same ones who will be informing on you to the authorities if you have a medical condition.

    I maybe sleepwalking but I will put my dressing gown on.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Lessons From History

    There are important lessons to learn from history when it comes to recognising totalitarian police states.

    Firstly, totalitarian states, and the like, are not all the same. Each state does it in its own way. So when a new totalitarian state emerges, it tends to look different to preceding ones. It's a huge mistake to think that such a state is therefore not a totalitarian state. Of course, the politicians in charge will emphasise the differences, arguing that these differences prove that the state is not totalitarian, not a police state, etc. But likewise, there were and are significant differences between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, between Cuba and North Korea, etc.

    Secondly, corrupt states tend to look different from the inside to how they look from the outside. Same goes for how the rest of the world looks from inside such states. North Korea is a good example. Many North Koreans are strongly patriotic, and really believe that their despotic government really is protecting them. Their perceptions of the rest of the world are also unlikely to be reliable.

    Thirdly, but perhaps most importantly, there's always some kind of treasured "freedom", which conveniently "proves" the state in question isn't bad, but good. In the Soviet Union, the workers, their families and communities were free from capitalist exploitation, free to work for themselves, their families and communities. Such an important freedom this was, that the Soviet state had to protect it from capitalist and imperialist threats.

    In Nazi Germany, it was simply the simple freedom of the German people to be German. What could possibly be wrong with that? It would surely be racist against the German race to deny them their right to be German! And so of course it was right for the Nazi state to enthusiastically protect the German people from those who would deny them their freedom to be German, such as Communists and Jews. What could possibly be wrong with defending that simple, natural freedom?...

    Here in England and Wales (right, Eddie?), what freedom do we have? We have the freedom to express disagreement with the powers that be! We have the freedom to say, "I think the government's got it wrong! I think their proposals stink!" And, unlike in, say, the Democratic Republic of Germany or the People's Republic of China, we won't get in trouble with the authorities (unless we're "extremists", such as religious fundamentalists, political "extremists", etc).

    Yes, my brothers and sisters, we have the freedom to whinge, moan and complain! (Within state-defined reason, of course.) We even occasionally have a choice of which of two, elective dictatorships we want to be ruled by! How can we deny that we're free? Good job the state is doing so much to protect our precious freedoms...

  21. raving angry loony

    hypocrisy earns lower scores?

    Of course, it's hard to quantify if the US should be higher, simply because most of their surveillance is done secretly - with serious penalties for anyone who dares make public the secret subpoenas, warrantless surveillance, secret "no fly" lists, and other tricks that their Patriot Act and other laws allow them to do. At least the UK is open about the fact it's trying to become a police state. The US, as usual, is being hypocritical about it.

  22. kevin biswas

    Sleepwalking ?

    Not everyone is sleepwalking. Some are being dragged bound and screaming.

    In fairness to 'crytptohippie', it is a rather clever play on 'cryptofascist' and anyway, in case you didn't notice all the good domains got bought up in the dotcom bubble.

  23. Nebulo
    Black Helicopters

    Not so very surprising, though

    This has been on the cards since that story last year about the Chinese sending people over to the UK to study how London does CCTV. When THEY are taking lessons from US in repression, you just know things have gone thoroughly rotten.

    Oh, and El Reg, I do agree with Wayland (14:41 GMT). You really must stop talking about "Britain slowly sleepwalking toward becoming a surveillance society". That phrase suggests a degree of futurity which is years out of date. Britain IS a surveillance society, and has been for years now. Come on. Open your eyes, look around. It's easy. Count the cameras, the databases, the "terror" laws being used against innocent citizens, the officious little shites who are being given the power to fork up your life in the name of some bit of vacuous doublespeak, and, and ...

    What we need to be talking about is, how we break our way out of the S.S. (such /appropriate/ initials, my dear!) and smash it into little bits which can't be put back together, ever. Not pretending that it's just some vague threat.

  24. Andus McCoatover

    Lotfi Raissi?

    <<"The usual image of a "police state" includes secret police dragging people out of their homes at night>>

    Google the title.

    Where are we now? Perfect match.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Don't' be daft!

    Of course other nations/organisations have cybersnooping but they just can't/won't/shan't share it or talk about it.

  26. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    "Sleepwalking into a surveillance society"

    Why does everyone keep on saying that when it's quite clearly already arrived ?

    And it will keep on getting worse.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @AC 16:03

    That is absolutely the best way of pointing out false freedom that I have ever read. I've often stated that freedom to criticise the government is no freedom at all when other more important freedoms are being taken away. I can complain about the government but I can't take photos in public without being harassed and as a 40-something male if I'm seen within line-of-sight of a school I'm automatically assumed to be a kiddy-fiddler. So much for freedom.

    But the way you've expressed that point blows my own way of expressing it clean out of the air. I hope you don't mind, but I've copypasted your comment and will be forwarding it to a number of friends, family and colleagues. If you'd put your name to it I'd have credited you, but in this day and age I can understand why you wouldn't want to link your identity to a sentiment like that... I think I'll go Anon as well for agreeing with you, just in case!

  28. Tony Paulazzo

    Sounds like

    >In Nazi Germany, it was simply the simple freedom of the German people to be German<

    Sounds like the peoples front of Judea - splitters!

    Entropy will be our saviour. Any system eventually falls apart. Nero fiddled whilst Rome burned. Disconnect. which gets you the longest jail sentence, being caught taking drugs, with a kid in the basement and bomb making facilities in the attic, or, robbing a bank?

    It's ok, the nice men in white coats are here for my medication.

    Not anon, cause fsck 'em if they can't take a joke.

  29. MinionZero

    A Police State is for their gain not to help all of us ... as always. :(

    @Eddie Edwards: “The only question “ your comments “raises is who the fuck” is Eddie Edwards “and why should I care what their obviously biased report says?” ... to use your own words against you. ;)

    Joking aside, if you Eddie Edwards, bothered to follow the news of the relentless political power grabs over everyone in the UK and the resulting slide into a Police State run by them, then if anything this group isn't going far enough to highlight the full dangers of a government that seeks such total power over its people.

    Its people like you Eddie who fail to see governments manipulate people all the time. Its simply part of the game of getting into power and holding on to power. Knowledge is power and so more knowledge is more power. People who seek power therefore seek more knowledge. There's also so many examples throughout history and around the world of how governments try and tried to create police states to manipulate and even silence opposition. They don't want our views, they want to be in power over us all. That's why they seek positions of political power and continue to seek power throughout their lives. Often they are very driven people to see power. If they are not driven, then others more driven will gain power over them. So the most extreme tend to fight to the top.

    These kind of people would tell everyone anything to cover up their real goal of self interested Narcissistic greed and seeking ever more power over people for their own gain. Many of them show clear signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. They would tell people anything to avoid people seeing them for what they really are. But now since the expenses leak they have finally shown just what so many of them are really like. (Remember as well they tried for years to stop the expenses from leaking out ... that even shows their real two faced manipulative deceitful behaviour).

    But then judging from Eddie Edwards attitude to Big Brother and hostile phrasing in his post, I suspect he already knows all this and just considers it acceptable behaviour to create a Police State of control.

    What's also interesting is how often NPD's do see control as the answer because they fear lack of control. Ultimately fear is behind their behaviour. So any attempt by me or anyone else to reason with NPD's usually fails as their kind don't want to see and hear about logic, because their behaviour is driven by deep personality insecurities. Logic and fairness has no interest to them. They want control.

    ... and yet these people think we should just trust them with gaining ever more power over everyone as they try to monitor everyone in the UK to create their Police State ... like hell ... these people need help not positions of ever more power over everyone. History has shown so many times just how arrogant this kind of person can be when they gain such extreme power that no one can dare speak out against them.

    (Eddie if you can't be bothered to read history books, then just watch this DVD and see how police state power games are played). (Hitler: The Rise of Evil)

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