EDRi Awards 2015

By EDRi · December 22, 2015

For the second time and with great solemnity, EDRi presents the first ever second edition of its annual awards.


1. The “Humpty Dumpty Award” for the most silly “statistics”
The award this year goes to French Home Affairs Minister Bernard Cazeneuve. He argued that 90% of radicalisation happens online – the source was a non-representative, non-random sample of opinions of 160 families. As Le Monde pointed out, following the same methodology, the Minister could reasonably argue that SMS messages or cars cause terrorist radicalisation.

2. The “WTF award” for the most meaningless amendment
This award goes to an unknown European Parliament translator. In a report on “radicalisation”, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Ms Rachida Dati proposed, in French, that criminal liability should be imposed on Internet providers in relation to “illegal messages which support terrorism”. The translator extended the scope to cover legal messages (“illegal messages or messages that support terrorism”). This was rejected in the Committee vote but, such was the chaos in the Parliament after the Paris attacks, Ms Dati proposed the translator’s amendment (paragraph 16) in the final plenary vote and this was adopted by a majority of Members of the European Parliament.

3. The “cranial fracture facepalm” award
This award goes to Mr Axel Voss MEP, who led the negotiations for the EPP Group, the largest political group in the European Parliament, on the data protection framework. He voted against the Regulation – only to see all but one of his EPP colleagues vote for the legislation. The Regulation that he wanted his political group to against was welcomed by an EPP press release as representing a “great day for European citizens and the European economy”.

4. The “I’ve just shot myself in the foot” award, for the most successful piece of economic self-flagellation
Following the adoption of the Regulation on a Telecommunications Single Market – and ten months before guidelines from the committee Europe’s regulators (Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications, BEREC) on how the Regulation should be interpreted – Deutsche Telekom published a far too honest description of its plans to destroy the open and competitive Internet in Germany. It explained how make fledgling companies an offer they couldn’t refuse – they would jsut have to hand over a “couple of percent” of future profits in order to make sure they had adequate transmission quality. BEREC now knows exactly what types of market abuses are planned, and we can only hope and assume that the guidelines will help prevent them from happening.

Special Mention: The United States Congress for passing the Magicsecurity Information Sharing Act

5. The “we don’t need laws, we need law enforcement” award for blind abandonment of law “in the name of law enforcement”
This award goes European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos for the launch of the IT Forum. Having announced the forum four times in the last two years, he has never been able to give anyone any indication of what it will do or, since it launch in early December, what it is already doing. Asking unaccountable, excessively powerful companies to regulate free speech and fight complex, serious crime couldn’t possibly be counter-productive or produce negative impacts, could it?

Positive EDRi Awards

The “Max Schrems” award for being the best Max Schrems in Europe
Max Schrems for winning the Safe Harbor case.
This award will be open to people whose name is not Max Schrems in 2016.

The “rights are about people and not politics” award
For politicians who stand up for citizens rights when it is politically difficult to do so:
MEPs from all political groups that stood up for digital rights: Jan Albrecht (Greens), Barbara Spinelli (Green United Left), Birgit Sippel (Socialists – S&D), Sophie In’t Veld (Liberals – ALDE), Viviane Reding (Christian Democrats – EPP).

Notable publications
EDRi-gram 300 – Digital Rights from 2025
EFF – Pwning Tomorrow
Note on the EU-US Umbrella Data Protection Agreement by Douwe Korff