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How much does your government spy on you? U.N. may rank the snoopers

A U.N. human rights expert has published a draft list of questions to measure countries’ privacy safeguards, a first step toward ranking the governments that are potentially doing the most snooping on their own citizens.

Joseph Cannataci, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to privacy, submitted the draft questionnaire – touching on everything from chatrooms to systematic surveillance – to the U.N. Human Rights Council, and invited comments by June 30.

Cannataci’s role investigating digital privacy was created by the council in 2015 after Edward Snowden’s revelations about U.S. surveillance, and he has strongly criticized surveillance activities by the United States and other countries.

As the first person in the job, Cannataci set out an action plan for tackling the task and said he planned to take a methodical approach to monitoring surveillance and privacy laws to help him to decide which countries to investigate.

The council’s 47 member states are not be obliged to agree with his findings, but special rapporteurs’ reports are generally influential in a forum where governments are keen to appear to have an unblemished human rights record.

The 28 draft questions, each with a suggested score attached, begins with a potential five points if a country’s constitution had a provision to protect privacy or has been interpreted to encompass such a protection.

CONTINUE @ REUTERS