The US is the second-most surveilled country in the world after China, with one camera for every five people in major cities.
A new report found that bigger US cities had an average of over 112,000 CCTV cameras, or about 2,200 for every 10,000 people.
That was still dwarfed by China, which had 15,880,491 CCTV cameras in places like Shanghai, equal to a camera for every man, woman and child.
Researchers also looked at how often countries requested their citizens personal data from Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter.
China took the top spot here — mainly because it blocks most sites — but Malta was a surprise second, with 33 data requests per 10,000 people, followed by Singapore, the US, Luxembourg and Germany.
Scroll down for video
A new report from WebsiteToolTester examined the number of CCTV cameras in a country compared to the population of its biggest cities. The study also examined how many data requests individual governments made on their citizens from Facebook, Google, Apple and other online giants
The report was conducted by WebsiteToolTester, which rates website building platforms like Winx and Squarespace.
To generate surveillance rankings, data on CCTV cameras from 150 of the most populated cities — based on government reports, police websites, and news articles — was compared to population figures in those cities.
For online rankings, WebsiteToolTester founder Robert Brandl looked at transparency reports from Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter on various governments, then compared the figures by that country’s population.
China is far and away the biggest surveillance state in the world: With 10,342 CCTV cameras per 10,000 citizens, there are more cameras than people in some areas.
China was the number one surveillance state in a new report, with a camera for every person in bigger cities. The US came in second, with one camera for every five citizens in urban areas.
Of the 150 cities analyzed in the report, 18 of the top 20 most surveilled cities were in China.
Requests for online data by the Chinese government are low, says Brandl, only because most platforms are banned.
‘Citizens are made to use a tightly moderated government social media site where everything is monitored.’
The Chinese government blocks Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft, but still managed to request data from Apple on 94,866 of its citizens.
The vacation getaway of Malta ranked high on online surveillance, and number one for requests on citizen’s Facebook records. That may be tied to the riots and political upheaval that followed the 2017 murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia
The United States had the second-lowest ratio of people to cameras — 2,232 cameras for every 10,000 people in big cities like New York and Boston.
And the American government is busy keeping tabs on its citizens online, too: In 2019 alone it requested personal data from Facebook, Twitter, iPhones, Microsoft and Google on more than 800,000 Americans.
The UK takes 3rd place for the most-watched country, with an average of one CCTV camera for every 16 citizens in its larger cities—London alone is home to over 620,707 security cameras.
When it came to cyberspace, the British government made attempts to get 117,848 citizens’ personal data in 2019.
The report did have a few surprises, especially when it came to online data requests.
Malta came in second after China, with 33 requests from the government for every 10,000 people.
That may be tied to the riots and political upheaval after the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017, Brandl theorizes.
The government of Singapore was ranked third for online data requests, making more than 26 requests per 10,000 people, followed by the US, Luxembourg, Germany, France, UK, Monaco and Portugal.
Singapore was most likely to requisition info from Google, while Apple data was top with the US government, Facebook in Malta, Twitter in Japan and Microsoft data was most requested in Luxembourg.
Of the platforms surveyed Facebook received the most requests for personal data in 2019, 691,223, and Twitter had the least, just 16,113.
Though it wasn’t included in the main report, TikTok received about 500 governmental requests for personal data in 2019, 302 of which were from India and 100 from the US.
While the report was expansive, Brandl admits its not complete: CCTV figures are not available for North Korea, Iran, Syria and several other nations.
In addition, it’s estimated that there are only 28 websites permitted in North Korea, all of which are government-owned.
Poland, Brazil, and Turkey all doubled the number of data requests they made between 2018 and 2019.
The USA saw the biggest increase, though, with almost 50,000 more requests made in 2019 than in 2018.
‘A rapid expansion of technologies for surveillance and identification, combined with much slower adoption of policies to safeguard privacy and security, means this intrusive surveillance is becoming more prominent,’ Brandl told Mail Online.
There will be an estimated one billion security cameras around the globe by the end of this year, with 10 to 20 percent of them in the US.