Uk privacy questions

I recently was offered a job, but it would require me moving overseas to scotland. I’m enticed to take it even though it is a big move because I love a good adventure. My only thing is, is I know that the privacy situation is pretty bad in the uk (from what I’ve read). I wanna know though, is it any worse than the us? And are there any safeguards that may help?

At the moment, I would say it’s about the same. Although some products like are not available outside America and there are not many good alternatives.

There is also the online safety bill which is a serious threat, but hopefully will not be passed by parliament.

Not related to privacy, but the Rwanda Plan demonstrates how little the UK Government value human rights, there is also the proposed Bill or Rights which threatens human rights in the country.

Also, Scotland is trying to gain independence from the UK although I doubt this will happen for the foreseeable future.

So to answer the questions of whether or not the U.K. is a surveillance state, the above historical evidence should be given serious consideration. The U.K. may not be a full-blown surveillance state like China, but it is certainly showing tendencies of becoming one.
You’ll probably notice more government based CCTV use (in addition to standard corner-store CCTV) and facial recognition is also fairly widespread.

One of the things most Americans notice, when is how many cameras there are. You will be caught on camera, if you leave your house, that is a fact. It’s less common outside of major cities, but they’re still pretty much everywhere.

You won’t have access to cool services like With there being no good alternative, due to financial laws. No Revolut is not an alternative.

Most places accept cash.Some being cash-only (remember those financial laws), which usually means they’re doing something dodgy, like tax dodging. Card only places do exist, but that’s more in bigger cities, like London.

The UK doesn’t have as many tracking companies, as the US.

It will depend where you are currently. If you live in the US, which has no current privacy laws/regulations, then it would actually be better for your privacy as the UK has the UK GDPR which is essentially the EU GDPR with a couple of clarifications and small changes (none of which will make much of an impact to your privacy)

No, it is miles ahead. The US (at the moment) have no privacy laws. The UK has the UK GDPR which is the UK’s version of the EU GDPR. It will be a major improvement moving from the US to the UK privacy-wise. The UK also have a DPA (data protection agency) which will regularly issue fines to companies when they breach the law.

You will most likely find that almost everywhere will accept cash. Most small shops don’t want to pay for a card reader and will only take cash.

I think if you are still a US citizen you can use You could reach out to their team and double-check.

In summary,

if you live in the US moving to the UK will be better for your privacy IMHO as the UK has actually pretty solid privacy laws. You should also keep in mind, don’t let privacy get in the way of your life, this job could be a great opportunity for you and IMO I wouldn’t let privacy get in the way of that.


Since Brexit, the government has expressed interest in removing these laws.

Scotland does have it’s own parliament and could reintroduce these laws even if they are removed by the UK government.

Many places no longer accept cash. A lot of supermarkets no longer accept cash at the self-checkout tills, but do at the tills with people. Many small businesses prefer card readers like Square as they are quite cheap and easier to manage than having loads of notes.
Furthermore, many places only accept contactless so if you are someone that likes to disable that and instead insert your card + pin, that may nit even be an option.

No, they won’t. They have just finished updating the UK GDPR and the changes will come into effect soon. Plus, they can’t just take those laws away or else the UK will no longer be able to do business with the EU as they will lose their adequacy agreement. The UK is a big country, they can’t just take away laws like that.

That is a fair point but even at that, most places will have worker-operated tills that accept cash.

1 Like

There are things in life besides wishing to attain privacy a 100% all times. If you have landed yourself a great job, and you like the offer and the adventure, you should go for it.


I think we can agree that they don’t make the most rational decisions cough Liz Truss

We will see, but I hope you are right.

All we can do is hope but, as I have said they would lose their adequacy agreement if they completely scrapped their data protection laws so, hopefully this fact alone will prevent them from doing anything irrational.

Something which I kinda forgot to note, which will damage privacy… quite heavily. The Online Safety Bill argues that encryption is a bad thing, and wants to force companies to break their encryption methods. Meaning goodbye e2ee. Groups like the Open Rights Group are trying to fight this, but it’s an uphill battle, with the whole “protecting the children” spin the Gov are using.

1 Like