[LINK] Vanstone, NSW govt get Orwell awards
brd at iimetro.com.au
Tue Nov 8 19:46:00 EST 2005
Vanstone, NSW govt get Orwell awards
November 8, 2005 - 5:01PM
Telstra, the NSW government and senators Amanda Vanstone and Julian McGauran
have been named as Australia's worst privacy invaders in national shame awards
The Australian Privacy Foundation, a national lobby group dedicated to
protecting the privacy rights of Australians, announced the winners of the
annual Big Brother Awards, or Orwells, in Melbourne.
Telstra was named the Greatest Corporate Invader for its policy on employee
monitoring and surveillance that showed a blatant disregard of privacy, the APF
The policy authorises broad staff surveillance, including tracking email
traffic, monitoring telephone calls and internet use.
Earlier this year, the telco giant was forced to reject claims it kept secret
staff dossiers filled with information that included employees' sexual
preferences and religious beliefs.
But it admitted recording personal information when details came to light
during investigations about alleged misconduct.
The NSW government was given the Lifetime Menace award for failing to appoint a
replacement privacy commissioner for more than two-and-a-half years.
"It is hard to believe that it should take anywhere near this time to find a
suitable person," the judging panel, which includes the last NSW privacy
"The NSW government's failure to appoint a permanent privacy commissioner has
meant no real scrutiny of either NSW or federal proposals for their impact on
privacy, including the new terrorism laws.
"This is evidence of the NSW government's ongoing hostility to transparency and
Awards judge and former Liberal senator Chris Puplick resigned as the NSW
privacy commissioner in May 2003.
National Party senator Julian McGauran was named Worst Public Agency or
Official for earlier this year releasing the name of a woman who had a
late-term abortion, and allegedly distributing copies of her private medical
file to health officials and journalists.
Senator McGauran accessed the woman's files through the state coroner's office
in 2002 and complained about the abortion to the Medical Practitioners Board.
The judging panel said the senator's actions were "a gratuitous breach of the
privacy of a private citizen for blatantly ideological reasons - and a
substantial misuse of parliamentary position and authority".
Liberal senator Amanda Vanstone also came under fire from the APF.
They awarded her the Boot in Mouth title for the "most appalling contribution
to a debate over a privacy-related topic", accusing her of proposing a national
identity card to divert attention from the Cornelia Rau immigration bungle.
The APF also honoured two champions of privacy rights with its Privacy Defender
ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope won Best Privacy Guardian for posting the
federal government's draft anti-terrorism legislation on his website, and South
Australian senator Natasha Stott-Despoja was given a lifetime achievement award
for continually standing up for privacy.
Law-abiding citizens value privacy. Terrorists require invisibility.
The two are not the same, and they should not be confused.
-- Richard Perle
brd at iimetro.com.au
More information about the Link