Nominations Big Brother Awards UK / Austria

By EDRi · July 15, 2004

On 28 July, Privacy International will celebrate the 6th annual UK Big Brother Awards ceremony. From about 300 nominees a ‘Dirty Dozen’ was selected for the shortlist. Award categories for this year are as they have been in past years: Worst Public Servant; Most Invasive Company; Most Appalling Project; Most Heinous Government Organisation and Lifetime Menace (now renamed the ‘David Blunkett Lifetime Menace Award’).

The number of nominations for Home Secretary Blunkett, the Home Office and the proposed National Identity Card far outweighed all other nominees, but their unpopularity will not be recognised this year because they have received awards in previous years. Among the favourites that are tipped to win is the Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Minister of State for Children for Worst Public Servant. Hodge has received numerous nominations because of her patronage of the controversial tracking provisions in the Children Bill and for her determination to develop a wide spectrum of intrusive databases and information systems.

British Gas is tipped to win the Most Invasive Company Award, for its unfounded and cowardly claim that the Data Protection Act was the reason why an elderly couple died after British Gas had disconnected their gas supply. The hypothermia and absence of any duty of care apparently were secondary factors. The NHS National Programme for IT could be the winner of the Most Appalling Project Award, after already having won a Most Heinous Government Organisation award in 2000 because of its plans to computerise all patient records in a way that is both insecure and dangerous to patient privacy. Its nomination again this year reflects the gravity of concerns over these continuing plans.

Finally the Office of National Statistics risks winning the Most Heinous Government Organisation award, for its development of the ‘Citizen Information Project’ that will collate and share unprecedented amounts of data on the entire population.

Commenting on the nominations, Simon Davies, Director of Privacy International, said: “The nominations reflect a broad and intensified assault on the right to privacy in the UK. There is a clear hostility within government to privacy and a general antagonism to it from within business. We have seen few instances where privacy has been genuinely respected by large organisations.”

On 26 October 2004, the Austrians will celebrate their 6th annual ceremony as well. The call for nominations (in 5 categories, plus a positive price) is open until 16 October 2004.

Shortlist for privacy ‘Oscars’ announced (05.07.2004)

The 2004 UK Big Brother Awards

Call for nominations for the Austrian Big Brother Awards