Czech Big Brother Awards 2007
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A panel of nine experts including journalists and civic associations' members chose the awards for this year BBA winners at the ceremony on 13 November 2007 in Prague, from more than 70 nominations.
The Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic received the award in the category Lifetime Menace for having ignored basic citizen privacy protection rights in elaborating the National Action Plan of Fighting Terrorism (NAP). During the elaboration process of NAP the Private Data Protection Office was not invited for discussion in issues. The Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data No. 108 of the Council of Europe, adopted by the Czech Republic is not mentioned in the National Action Plans for particular periods. The NAP also contains concepts with significant negative impact to privacy of persons - e.g. the plan for making of national database of biometric data for verification of travel documents (in NAP 2005-2007, item 10.3). The NAP for 2007-2009 period again contains concepts for further spreading of camera systems, for wider access to bank data, for access to location and further telecommunication data.
The award in the category Greatest Corporate Invader was granted collectively to the clients misusing the services or products of T-Mobile service "Where is .?", Cuckoldry test from DNAtest.cz, Mobile Bug from Goldsilver company and products of Odposlechy.com. The mentioned technologies or services allow intrusion to privacy unknown to the involved citizens.
The Board decided to give the Worst Public Agency or Official Award to Plzen city, as the trustee of the municipal camera system operator (Plzen City Municipal Property Administration) and as the trustee of Municipal Police, for invading of citizen's privacy with camera systems and the absurd plan to fit municipal policemen with candid cameras for revealing of serving alcohol to teenagers (especially when uselessness of such clips as evidence is notorious) and for misuse of the municipal camera system on 2 August 2007, when it was used for spying of private flat either deliberately or due to operator's failure. The Plzen city was called "the biggest administrative snooper".
USA Government, called "the biggest international snooper", won the Award in the category International Privacy Invader for running of a large network of technical spying and monitoring devices called Echelon. The system monitors electronic communication and infringes the privacy right. Moreover, the U.S. Government refuses to publish any information that could rule out the suspicion that the system is misused for industrial espionage and for groundless monitoring of honest people communication.
In the category Dangerous New Technology, Martin Pegner, chief of the DNAtest.cz project was awarded for the so called Cuckoldry test. Promotion of this service stimulates spying of relatives. Making of DNA tests unknown to the persons whose biological samples are concerned, is considered by the board to be unacceptable. Absence of Ethic Code in DNA testing which should contain requirement for the consent of the tested persons is criticised as well.
JUDr. Stanislav Gross of JUDr. Eduard Bruna Law Office was awarded in the category Boot in the Mouth. The Price was given for the statements in the article published on 13 December 2006 in Lidové Noviny, in the Horizont section, under the title "Let us not to demonise wiretapping". The statements "Protection of the basic values of our society in the contemporary turbulent world will unfortunately require enlarging of state competences having features of exceptions from the rights guaranteed by the Constitution" and "That is why I would intercede against demonising of the official wiretapping and for acknowledgement of their necessity in the contemporary turbulent world" express, according to the board, unilateral effort for strengthening repressive and monitoring activities of the state , with no respect to basic rights, especially privacy.
In the category Big Brother's Legal Rule the Award was given to Law No. 321/2006, which amends Law no.141/1961 about the criminal trial proceedings (Code of Criminal Proceedings) as amended by the subsequent laws and Law no. 283/1991 about Police of the Czech Republic, so called "DNA Amendment of the Code of Criminal Proceedings and of the Police Law". According to the Amendment, Police is allowed to take DNA sample not only from the accused person but also from suspected persons but it goes even further on - they can require the sample from the "concerned" person, i.e. de facto from anybody according to own discretion. The Amendment also smuggled this unprecedented measure into the Police Law - the possibility of broad DNA sampling of almost the whole imprisoned population - from the persons serving jail sentence for premeditated criminal offence to persons subjected to protective therapy. Finally, the Amendment introduces the possibility to forcefully collect DNA samples.
The Smith positive Award for privacy defenders was given to Josef Skvorecký Private Grammar School student representatives for their active intervention against monitoring of students and teachers in the classrooms of the Josef Skvorecký Private Grammar School in 2006.
Interior Ministry, Gross win 'Big Brother' prizes (14.11.2007) http://www.praguemonitor.com/en/212/czech_national_news/14629/
BBA 2007 press release (only in Czech, 13.11.2007) http://www.slidilove.cz/nejvetsi_slidilove_opet_odhaleni
Video reportage of the Czech BBA 2007 (13.11.2007)
(contribution by Filip Pospisil - EDRI-member Iure Remedium - Czech Republik)