They’re watching us. And no, we don’t mean aliens – we mean the hundreds of thousands of CCTV cameras on every street corner, online surveillance and millions of attempts across the globe from governments to gain their citizen’s personal data.
Which countries are keeping the closest eye on their citizens
At WebsiteToolTester we wanted to see where in the world people were being watched the most, by calculating the number of CCTV cameras per citizen, and the number of attempts by governments to gain their citizens personal data from Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter. We scored each country on both factors to give an overall ranking, revealing the world’s most surveilled citizens.
|Position||Country Region||CCTV cameras in major cities||CCTV cameras per 10K people||Total Data Requests||Data Requests per 10K People|
Taking number one place for the most watched country in the world is China. It might not surprise you to know that China has more CCTV than anywhere else in the world. With over one camera for every citizen in its major cities, it’s almost impossible to go unnoticed here. Online life is no different, with Facebook, Twitter and Google forbidden, personal data requests from the government to these platforms are low. Citizens are made to use a tightly moderated government social media site where everything is monitored, gaining China people the title of ‘The Most watched citizens’.
Perhaps more surprisingly is who comes in second place. The leader of the free world, The United States of America, has an average of two cameras for every 10 people in its major cities. With the country’s security on higher alert than ever after the recent attack on the Capitol building, surveillance has never been tracked more carefully as law enforcement look to limit the risk of domestic terrorism. Online surveillance is no different, despite tense debates over online manipulation, the government indulged in requests for over 800,000 of its citizens personal data in 2019 alone.
The UK claimed third place, as it made 117,848 personal data requests in 2019, and has one CCTV camera for every 16 citizens in its larger cities. The UK government has long been accused of mass surveillance of its citizens and creating bulk databases of personal information, with the EU Court having to enforce a limit on the country’s surveillance activities in 2020. With the UK now out of the EU and not obliged to stick to the limit, it may face similar problems as the US, with data transfers between their country and the EU considered under threat due to concerns over indiscriminate bulk surveillance.
The top ten countries for CCTV
CCTV throughout the world is still increasing every day, especially in highly populated areas. To see which countries were watching their citizens’ movements the closest, we gathered the number of CCTV cameras from major cities in each country around the world.
|Position||Country Region||CCTV in named major cities||Population of cities||CCTV per 10K people|
|6||United Arab Emirates||55,000||1,452,057||378.77|
With 10,342 CCTV cameras per 10,000 citizens in China, they’ve got enough video recording devices for everyone. Out of the 150 most populated cities around the world that our research analysed, 18 out of the top 20 most surveilled cities were in China. The chances of your actions going unnoticed here are slim, especially in built-up, urban areas.
The United States comes in second place here too, with 2,232 cameras per 10,000 people. Due to the large areas of rural land in America, many people living there aren’t surrounded by an urban environment, making it harder for their movements to be captured.
A little surprisingly, it’s Pakistan in third place. The built-up nature of the cities in this country means people live in close quarters, with overpopulation an increasing concern. In these major cities we calculated there are on average 790 cameras for every 10,000 residents.
The top ten countries for online surveillance
It’s not just CCTV that can track what you’re up to. As social media continues to have an increasing impact in our daily lives, countries are paying more and more attention to what you’re up to online. Online is often where true personalities are revealed, and government bodies are taking interest in the data collected from your activities. We ranked the countries by the number of requests made per 10,000 citizens to Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter for citizens personal data in the course of a year.