Blogs | Privacy and data protection | Surveillance and data retention

UK home office not amused with big brother award

By EDRi · March 27, 2003

Yesterday, Privacy International announced the winners of the 5th Annual UK ‘Big Brother’ awards to the government and private sector organisations that have done the most to invade personal privacy in Britain.

Winner of the award for worst public servant is London Mayor Ken Livingstone, for his efforts in transport surveillance. Prime Minister Tony Blair received the Lifetime Menace Award. Blair earned the award partly because of his plans to force phone companies and Internet service providers to retain user data for 12 months as part of the country’s stepped-up war on terrorism and crime.

According to an article in The Guardian, a representative of the Home Office attended the event, but did not take the special award for minister David Blunkett: a (fake) dog poo on a stick. The home secretary has been a long-time target for privacy campaigners, as a result of his support for schemes such as entitlement cards.

“These are silly and malicious awards which have rightly been ignored by most people,” said a Home Office press officer.

Privacy International’s Director, Simon Davies, said the award winners reflected the ‘prolonged and vicious’ attack on the right to privacy. He said privacy invasion in Britain has become “a vast industry that threatens the rights of everyone in Britain”.

Press release UK Big Brother Awards 2003 (25.03.2003)

Home office attacks “malicious” awards (25.03.2003),12597,922483,00.html