UK Big Brother Award for US-VISIT Programme
On 28 July, Privacy International has presented the 6th annual UK Big Brother Awards ceremony. Privacy International took the unusual step of awarding a US initiative for the UK awards because of the almost total silence in the US over this programme. US VISIT will fingerprint all visitors to the US from September of this year. The scheme is offensive and invasive, and has been undertaken with little or no debate or scrutiny. Nor has the requirement taken any account of the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and the US. The UK government has been silent about the programme and has capitulated every step of the way.
Winner of ‘Worst public servant’ was Margaret Hodge, Minister of State for Children. According to the jury report, “Margaret 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.
Winner of the ‘Most invasive company award’ was British Gas, for blaming the Data Protection Act for a series of events that led to the death of an elderly couple who’s gas was cut off due to overdue payments. The company claimed that privacy law prevented the company from disclosing to social services that the gas supply had been cut off during the cold winter months.
Both the winners of the ‘Most appalling project award’ (the NHS national programme for IT) and the ‘Most heinous government organisation award’ (the office of national statistics) were accurately predicted by the
shortlist of the ‘dirty dozen’, described in EDRI-gram 2.14.
US wins David Blunkett Lifetime Menace Award
Stepping on Big Brother’s Toes
The 2004 UK Big Brother Awards
Pictures from the ceremony (28.07.2004)
(Thanks to Gus Hosein, EDRI-member Privacy International)