Poll: TechWeek Readers Rate Switzerland And Germany For Privacy

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Germany and Switzerland impress our readers with their privacy laws – but a lot of people vote for “other”

Edward Snowden‘s leaks revealed the extent to which national spy agencies, such as the NSA and GCHQ access private data on the Internet, but which countries are the most trustworthy? Our poll gave readers a chance to vote.

Switzerland and Germany scored well in the poll, with about 20 percent of the vote for each country. But the UK scored surprisinghly high given the publicity around GCHQ surveillance. And apparently we missed some significant data havens as the top-scoring nation was “other”.

security privacy government fisa google © Everett Collection ShutterstockData without frontiers?

Soon after the NSA scandal broke, TechWeek polled readers on whether they would move data away from the US providers over fears of snooping. Eight hundred responded, with nearly 60 percent saying they would move data away from the US (and 20 percent saying they never had data there in the first place.

This follow-up poll asked readers which country has the best privacy laws to protect data, in their opinion. Germany’s public stance has clearly impressed, according to the 300-plus votes gathered. Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed outrage at NSA snooping and the Germany government demands its contractors promise not to share data with any other country’s spy agencies.

Switzerland was the highest ranked named country, thanks to its tradition of privacy, and the government’s criminal investigation into alleged NSA surveillance. Service providers in the country report an increase in financial firms and other businesses mving their data there.

“Switzerland is gaining a reputation for being the place to store data” said Mateo Meier, director at Swiss service provider Artmotion.eu. “The country’s stringent privacy laws, combined with its non-membership of the EU, means it is not bound by pan-European agreements to share data with other member states or states outside Europe. This means it maintains the highest data privacy standards in the world and people can host data without fear of it being accessed by foreign governments.”

“We’re seeing an increase in the number of organisations in the financial, oil and gas and retail sectors choosing companies like Artmotion.eu in Switzerland to store data such as financial records and sensitive business information as they can be confident that their data is being stored securely.”

The UK’s 11 percent score might surprise some, as through its GCHQ intgelligence agency, Britain has been a major partner of the US in online surveillance.

But most votes (26 percent) went to “other”, suggesting that TechWeek’s list missed at least a couple of other data havens. So far, those voters haven’t let us know which countries they prefer – but the comments below are open for suggestions.

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“For businesses large and small, data vulnerabilities can present real security risks or privacy implications, and it’s causing a real fear” said Meier. “These privacy worries are seeing a surge in businesses choosing to have their data hosted in different countries, whether it’s via the cloud or dedicated servers, in order to alleviate security concerns.”

Next up: do you trust Office 365?

Following the NSA spying scandal, are you afraid SkyDrive/OneDrive or Office 365 will share your confidential data?

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