Big Brother Awards Czech Republic 2008

By EDRi · November 19, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The fourth edition of Big Brother Awards was announced in the Czech Republic
in Prague on 14 November 2008. Under the direction of Czech EDRi-member
Iuridicum Remedium, seven worst perpetrators of the right to privacy were
awarded. The positive prize was granted to German Working Group on Data
Retention AK Vorrat.

The prizes were chosen by an expert jury from more than seventy nominations
submitted by the public. The jury members were Petr Krcmár (editor-in-chief,, Lenka Nejezchlebová (journalist, MF Dnes), Karel Neuwirth (Council
of Europe Data Protection Commissioner), Miroslav Ouzký (member of the
European Parliament), Radek Smolík (regional director, Symantec), Helena
Svatosová (Iuridicum Remedium) and Václav Vlk (lawyer).

The Municipal-Council of the city of Prague received the prize for the Worst
Public Agency for the multifunctional chip card it introduced for public
transport earlier this year. Although the card is designed to replace all
currently available season tickets, it is available only after presentation
of an ID and the signed agreement for the processing of personal data. Along
with the plans to reintroduce electronic gates in Prague underground, the
possibility to use public transport anonymously slowly diminishes.

The award in the category of the Greatest Corporate Invader was granted to
the AQUER.CZ for its products specifically aimed at devaluation of personal
privacy in terms of providing full software for complete monitoring of one’s
computer activity.

Deutsche Telekom AG got the Lifetime Menace prize for the massive data loss
it incurred two years ago and willingly ignored until Der Spiegel proved the
data concerned were available for sale on the Internet. Until then, Deutsche
Telekom AG had not taken any steps to inform its customers about potential
threats that could have resulted from its failure to protect the customer’s

The USA government has again kept its position of the world leader in the
category of the Worst Snooper among Nations for setting bilateral agreements
on personal data transfers that were concluded between the governments of
USA and several EU member states in exchange of visa waiver. The agreement
with the Czech government is kept under secret regime and will not be
subjected to democratic vote of the Parliament. It raises fears concerning
the quality, quantity, as well as protection of the data to be transferred.

The Electronic road-toll system provided by Kapsch AG for monitoring and
regulating the traffic on the country’s highways won the prize in the
category of Dangerous New Technology. The original intention to use this
system to charge extra fees from transportation entrepreneurs will soon be
extended to include every car on the road. Although the Ministry of
Transportation claims that anonymity of transport is its priority, it has
provided neither guarantees nor any information how the anonymity will be

In the category Big Brother´s Precept of Law the award was given to the
European Commission for its proposal to introduce virtual strip search
cameras in European airports. The virtual strip search provides the airport
controllers with detailed picture of the traveler’s body construction which
is in breach not only with the right to privacy but also the fundamental
principles of human dignity.

Mr Rudolf Marek was awarded in the category Boot in the Mouth for the
statement in his article in the EURO magazine on spying called “Hon na
skodnou nebo paranoia?” (Chasing the Vermints or Paranoia?), which presents
the possibility of hidden spying on employees as normal and usual, although
it is strictly prohibited by law.

At the end, the organizers were pleased to award the group of privacy
advocates AK Vorrat the Positive Winston Smith prize for its unceasing
endeavor to remedy the critical situation in the field of personal data
protection and defense of the fundamentals right to privacy not only within
the country of its origin, Germany, but within the entire Europe. The recent
successes of AK Vorrat have proven that its strong mission can mobilize tens
of thousands of people who do not hesitate to take part in process of
achieving the vision of the world we all share – world where the Big Brother
does not exist.

Big Brother Awards Czech Republic Official Web Site (only in Czech)

Big Brother Awards Czech Republic 2007 (in English) (only in Czech)

Hospodárské noviny (only in Czech)

Czech TV (only in Czech)

(Contribution by EDRi-member Iuridicum Remedium – Czech Republic)