Online security: Which countries are the safest online?

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

11 April 2014

All over the world, paranoia about online security has skyrocketed in the last year–and for good reason too.

Since Edward Snowden’s huge NSA leak last year, web users in the States, and subsequently in the UK and parts of Europe have understood that their online security has been compromised by widespread internet surveillance from the governments in their own countries (and, in the case of the UK, beyond). Even the UN has weighed in on the issue as has confirmed that many countries in the world are increasingly spying on their own citizens.

Since these revelations, promises have been made regarding privacy reforms, new laws to protect individuals and so on – but so far, few of these promises have been kept.

So which countries are the safest online? Which protect their web users, and which don’t?

Backgroundchecks.com scored countries according to criteria regarding how much they protect their citizens. Criteria included implementation of privacy laws (+20), active government protection of free speech (+10), governmental use of spyware (-20) and allowing of a non-restricted internet (+10), among others.

**The Best: Spain, the Czech Republic, Iceland and Norway

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According to by backgroundchecks.com, these four countries all score a cool 50 points. In the case of Spain, huge companies like Google have even tried to contest their stringent privacy laws; Google even pitted a huge legal case against the country, which led to the company being fined $1.2 million by Spain’s government. They were also ordered to fall in line with the country’s laws, which affected Google’s practice of gathering information from its customers and hiding its use of such information. The Czech Republic, Iceland and Norway all have similarly strict guidelines for companies, and voraciously protect free speech in the country.

Slovenia is not far behind the pack, with a score of 40.

The Worst: Bahrain and Iran

With equally terrible scores of -25, Bahrain and Iran come in at the bottom of the scoreboard. Both countries have extended government censorship and restrictions as a part of governmental repression, and Bahrain’s level of online surveillance is one of the highest in the world. Any activism is closely watched, as is the case in Iran too.

Nigeria, Syria and Malaysia also sank to the bottom of the scoreboard, with equal scores of -20 for surveillance, internet restrictions and lack of freedom of speech combined.

The SurfEasy VPN can help you to bypass online censorship and firewalls in your country, so if your country scored badly, and even if it didn’t, you can protect your privacy today by visiting SurfEasy.com and signing up for an account.

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