Czech Big Brother Awards shine light on privacy invasions

By EDRi · March 11, 2015

EDRi-member Iuridicum Remedium (IuRe) organised the Czech Big Brother Awards 2014, which marks the the tenth time the event has been held. The Awards ceremony took place in the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague on 25 February 2015.

The concept of the Big Brother Awards was created by Privacy International in the UK in 1998, and today the awards are given annually in about a dozen countries around the globe. The goal is to draw attention to violations of the right to privacy.

Among the nominees submitted by the public, the jury comprised of IT experts, lawyers and journalists, selected the winners of five categories.

“This year, in cooperation with the PR agency Geometry Global, we projected information on selected nominees into the public space thanks to lighting technology. We projected the Big Brother figure on the nominees´ buildings in city centre of Prague,” said Jan Voboril, IuRe’s Executive Director.

Google was declared the winner of the “Long-Term Stalker” category for the scanning of emails.

“For a long time, Google has been reading people´s e-mails for the purpose of targeting advertising. Last year, it turned out that Google also scans private emails to find proof of illegal activities, which it reports to authorities,” said Vobořil.

The “Corporate” category award went to a publisher and media group MAFRA for its release of the recordings of wiretapped phone conversations between former Prime Minister Petr Necas and his chief aide (and now wife) Jana Nagyova (Necasova) in a daily newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD). “The jury pointed out that it’s necessary to seek the limits of the public interest in controlling political power and that politicians, too, have the right to privacy which the media should respect,” Voboril stated.

Samsung was declared the winner of the “Big Brother Statement” category for issuing the warning that some of its smart phone products may identify their users based on their voice and transmit the recorded data to a third party. The Czech Ministry of Finance received a “Biggest Administrative Sleuth” award for its proposal to introduce a law obliging citizens to prove their property´s origin in case of suspected tax evasion. The proposal would require citizens to actively prove their innocence, instead of the state having to prove they are guilty.

The “Positive” award was given to Martin Winterkorn, Head of the Board of Directors of Volkswagen, who has called on car producers to form a worldwide alliance to secure an effective protection of their customers´ personal data.

Czech snooper mock-award goes to Google over spying on people (25.02.2015)

The biggest Czech eavesdroppers are Google, Mafra, Samsung and Ministry of Finance (only in Czech, 25.02.2015)

Photos from the guerilla light show (only in Czech)

Photos from the guerilla light show (only in Czech)

Photos from the guerilla light show (only in Czech)