Four Big Brother Awards for heavyweight Dutch privacy violations

By EDRi · March 9, 2011

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Deutsch: [Vier Big Brother Awards für grobe Verstöße gegen den niederländischen Datenschutz |]

The biggest Dutch privacy violations of 2010 have been awarded a Big Brother
Award on 9 March 2011 in Amsterdam. At the ceremonies, organized by
EDRi-member Bits of Freedom, an independent jury selected four ‘lucky’
winners from twelve nominees: Dutch Security and Justice Minister Ivo
Opstelten, public transport organization Trans Link Systems, the Dutch
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment and the application of Deep Packet
Inspection technology. Trans Link Systems also homed the Audience Award.
Bits of Freedom handed information security expert Rop Gonggrijp the
Winston, a positive lifetime achievement award, for his commitment to
protect privacy and freedom in the digital age.

The jury granted awards in four categories:
1. Individuals: Dutch Security and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten wins the
award for rewarding police forces that illegally retained number plate
records ofdrivers, by introducing legislation to legalize the storage of
number plates of all Dutch car drivers for four weeks.

2. Companies: Public transport organization Trans Link Systems is selected
by the jury for rolling out their insecure public transport chip card and
even considering it as a paying method in kiosks, in spite of loud privacy
objections against the chip card across the Netherlands and it being hacked
several times since 2005.

3. Government: the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs
and Employment receives the award for a proposal to give authorities the
power to conduct inspections in the private home of all social security
records, without any suspicion of social security fraud.

4. Proposals: the application of Deep Packet Inspection would lead to a
permanent wiretap on all internet traffic of every single Dutch citizen.
Notwithstanding evident breach of communications secrecy, the Ministry of
Security and Justice seriously considers the application of this intrusive

An independent expert jury selected twelve nominees out of hundreds of
submissions from the public and consequently picked the laureates. The jury
consists of publicist Karin Spaink (chair), journalist and anchor for the
popular TV-show Radar Antoinette Hertsenberg, professor of Media and
Telecommunications Law Nico van Eijk, Computer Science researcher Melanie
Rieback and journalist Bart de Koning.

The awards ceremonies also brought good news. Dutch information security
specialist and privacy advocate Rop Gonggrijp received a lifetime
achievement award for his commitment to privacy and freedom in the digital
age. With the unique combination of unrivaled technological expertise and
political drive, Mr. Gonggrijp has firmly set digital rights on the agenda
and underscored its importance for more than twenty years. He exposed the
insecurity of electronic voting in The Netherlands, and contributes to
evolving research in India and Brazil. By doing so, Mr. Gonggrijp defends
the privacy and freedom of over a billion people.

EDRi-member Bits of Freedom organizes the annual Big Brother Awards to
attract public awareness for heavyweight privacy violations in The
Netherlands. These winners are presented during awards ceremonies, which
provide an annual overview of the state of privacy. The seventh edition of
the Dutch Big Brother Awards is supported by: Pakhuis de Zwijger, the NLnet
Foundation and designers Largetosti.

(Contribution by EDRi-member Bits of Freedom, Netherlands)