Watching Big Brother
Thu, 29 Oct 1998 07:28:32 +1100
>Tuesday, October 27, 1998 Published at 03:34 GMT
>BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_202000/202024.stm
>Watching Big Brother
>Newham has 140 street cameras and face-recognition software
>By Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall
>The first annual awards defending the individual's right to privacy have
>been made at a ceremony in London.
>The 1998 UK Big Brother Awards were held on the 50th anniversary of the
>writing of George Orwell's novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four.
>The pressure group Privacy International announced winners it judged to be
>the modern-day equivalents of Big Brother in the novel, as well as
>individuals who had fought to protect privacy, awarding them Winstons, the
>name of the book's hero.
>Privacy awards to go global
>The academics, writers and lawyers who make up Privacy International
>concentrated their first awards on the UK, but plan to extend them to other
>countries over the next few years.
>Mark Thomas talks to The World Tonight's Robin Lustig
>Hosting the awards, the activist comedian Mark Thomas said eight other
>countries were interested in holding similar ceremonies next year.
>The director of Privacy International, Simon Davies, said the time was now
>right for the awards.
>"Surveillance has now become an inbuilt component of every piece of
>information technology on the planet, we've got a long way to go to wind the
>clock back. I think these awards are the beginning of a movement," he said.
>And the winners are ..
>The Big Brothers were given for a number of categories:
>Corporation: The British firm Procurement Services International received a
>Big Brother award for selling surveillance equipment to Nigeria, Turkey and
>Indonesia, three countries whose human rights records have been severely
>Local government: Newham Council in London won for using its 140 street
>cameras and facial-recognition software to try to pick out criminals in
>The Big Brother award
>"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human
>face - for ever." - George Orwell, Nineteen Eight-Four
>National government: The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) was named a
>Big Brother over its plans for the police to have access through a third
>party to the keys to any information sent electronically that was locked by
>Product: Software by Harlequin that examines telephone records and is able
>to compare numbers dialled in order to group users into 'friendship
>networks' won this category. It avoids the legal requirements needed for
>Lifetime achievement award: Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, a listening station
>used by America's National Security Agency and described as the biggest US
>spy station in the world, won this special award.
>None of the winners were present to accept their awards. But a video was
>shown of a receptionist at Newham Council receiving a Big Brother earlier in
>the day and of several police dragging a Privacy International campaigner
>out of the DTI's headquarters after he had tried to present it.
>Winstons were awarded to three individuals, cited for campaigning at Menwith
>Hill, documenting police surveillance and pursuing a privacy case against a
>landlord who had installed a two-way mirror in a 19-year-old woman's flat.
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Faculty of Communication
University of Canberra