Belgian Big Brother Awards 2012

By EDRi · February 1, 2012

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Deutsch: [Belgien: Big Brother Awards 2012 |]

Big Brother is everywhere! Numerous institutions, individuals and
organizations do not comply with privacy rules and regulations. The
Flemish “Liga voor Mensenrechten”, an EDRi member and the Wallonian “Ligue
des droits de l’hommes” joined forces in their fight against today’s “Big
Brother” culture!

Therefore, they organized, in collaboration with Vrije Universiteit Brussel
and deBuren, the second edition of the “Big Brother Awards” on 26 January
2012, a night on which the nation’s largest privacy violators are exposed
and privacy protectors are rewarded. They critically questioned the many
initiatives regarding surveillance, identity checks in the nightlife or
recreational areas, body scanners, the unsavoury practices of Google,
Apple or others.

During 7 weeks, the public was able to vote on nine privacy-infringers,
which the Liga and the Ligue had selected. With more than 20% of the votes,
the public chose a convincing winner. Although the word “loser” might be
better used here, as the honour attached to a Big Brother Award is slightly
questionable. The jury experts also selected 3 initiatives which infringe
the privacy of innocent citizens. This, in itself, proves that
privacy-infringements are still taking place on a daily basis.

Therefore it was time to introduce Big Brother to denounce the infringers.
Privacy-experts from home and abroad gathered for a thought-provoking
award-show. The Jury selected the following 3 winners, in 3 categories:

In the category “Enterprises” the award went to the Mobib-card from
MIVB/STIB, as the chip card raises concerns about the safety of the personal
data on the card and the anonymity of the user.

In the category “Media and Technology”, the planned introduction of the
smart grids was chosen. In their current form, the smart meters do not
comply with the demands of the European Treaty for Human Rights in terms of
respect for privacy, and raise questions concerning the safety of the
recorded data.

In the category “Authority”, the Police of the Westkust wins the award for
their VIP project (“Very Irritating Police” – seriously, that’s what it is
called) against loiters and the disproportionate rise of CCTV at Westkust.

The Police of the Westkust received the price of the public as well, with
1470 out of more than 5000 votes.

Here are the main three reasons why the Westkust Police deserved the Big
Brother Award:
– The foundations of law are reversed: everyone is guilty until proven
– The measures are disproportionate to the right to privacy, and
– Security must not take precedence over personal freedom.

During the event, the Human Rights Leagues also handed out the Winston
Award, a positive prize for a person or organization which works to protect
the privacy of citizens. The Winston Award went to Yoogle!, from Constant
vzw, an online game, miniature Web 2.0 allowing users to take a look behind
the scenes of online data-gathering by playing different actors of the
personal data market and by participating in the manoeuvres of each other.

Big Brother Awards Belgian 2012

Yoogle! – online game

(Contribution by Caroline de Geest – EDRi-member Liga voor Mensenrechten – Belgium)