Fri, 12 Dec 2008
After a four-year absence, the
Big Borther awards are back with Simon Davies
and Gus Hosein from Privacy
International as masters of ceremony. Traditionally
this event expose the
government and private sector organisations which have done the most to
threaten personal privacy. This year the emphasis was much more on
celebrating the individuals who have made outstanding contributions to
the protection of privacy.
A single Big Brother 2008 award - the golden statue
of a boot stamping upon a human head - was won by New Labour.
Six individuals received virtual Winstons (due to timing there
were no physical objects to give during the evening, which also meant
as Simon pointed out that there was nothing to be seized by the Police
in case of raids on any of the winners!):
Sarah Ludford MEP, Liberal Democrat European justice and
human rights spokeswoman recently led a successful campaign to
set the minimum age for fingerprinting for visas and passports
in Europe to 12-year old rather than 6 as many governments wanted.
- Phil Booth, National
Coordinator of NO2ID,
non-partisan single-issue group focussed on the threat to liberty and
privacy posed by the rapid growth of the database state. Phil thanked
pioneers Guy Herbert, general secretary of No2ID and Chris
Lightfoot whose untimely death was a loss for the UK
political arena and IT community.
- Helen Wallace,
Executive Director of GeneWatch UK,
a not-for-profit policy research and public interest group
investigating how genetic science and technologies impact our
food, health, agriculture, environment and society. GeneWatch UK
provided expert evidence on behalf of S. and Marper to the European
Court of Human Rights. The Court decided that the retention of S. and
Marper's DNA breaches human rights law.
- Gareth Crossman,
retiring Director of Policy at Liberty.
Hogge - retiring Executive Director of the Open Rights Group.
Davis MP, the fomer Conservative Shadow Home Secretary who
from Parliament to provoke a wider debate about the erosion of
civil liberties, and was re-elected on this agenda.
Most of the short presentations were about the
hope brought about by the recent ECtHR
ruling in S. & Marper v. UK (GeneWatch UK,
International and Liberty
intervened with evidence or submission in this case.) The
derailment of the attempt to extend pre-charge detention to 42 days,
and the absence of the latest communication surveillance initiative,
the interception modernisation programme (IMP), from the
Queen's speech were others positive news this year.
Congratulations to Baroness Ludford, Phil, Helen, Gareth, Becky and David Davis.