Paris, january 22th 2005- The fifth edition of the french Big Brother Awards ended on January 21th 2005. 7 Orwell and 2 Voltaire prizes were publicly awarded to last years’s surveillance champions.
The jury, composed of academics, magistrate, lawyers, journalist, free software and media advocates, writers and artist, gathered by Privacy International to honor projects, institutions or firms who have struck a blow in privacy or neglected to protect it. 30 "Orwell" prizes were nominated, as well as 7 Voltaire contestants, which recognize the efforts of those who fight for privacy, liberty and against "Big Brothers".
Special Award : Mr Douste-Blazy, health minister, main sponsor of a law that created the "Dossier Medical Partagé", renamed "Dossier Medical Personnel" ("shared medical record", renamed "personal medical record"), whose purpose is to put on the internet the entire medical records of every citizen in order to spend less money, and "optimize" the french medical care.
Most intrusive administration / public servants : deputies CLEMENT, LEONARD & FENECH, whose bill propose to impose electronic bracelets -with GPS geolocalisation incorporated- for 30 years on sexual criminals (and, perhaps, other kinds of ex-inmates), after their prison terms.
Most intrusive firm : Visiowave, a subsidiary company of TF1 (the -private- n°1 TV french & european company), whose "intelligent & embedded CCTV" products can detect "suspect behaviors", but also put commercials on CCTV & public screens.
Most intrusive city officials : Mr Biard, Mayor of Vitry-le-Francois (Marne District, east of Paris), and Mr Savary, president of the Marne District Assembly (Conseil général de la Marne), who ordered social workers to gave them the detailed records (name, address, incomes & "problems" of every citizen they try to help.
Novlang Award : Gixel (Association of Electronic Interconnect, Component and Sub-system Industries), which propose to "educate" children under 6 -and their parents- to biometric products in order to help the industry, and the government, spread this kind of "security values".
European Award : the Council of Justice and Home Ministers (JHA Council), for their biometric passport proposal to become mandatory, as everyone of the 450 million people with passports in the EU will have to queue up in "processing centres" and compulsorily have their fingerprints taken and have a "facial scan".
Lifetime Menace Award : french "homeland security" ministers Vaillant ("left" wing), Sarkozy & Perben ("right" wing), who let the french DNA centralized database record, not only the sexual & violent criminals samples, but also every kind of suspects, and minors ones.
Voltaire prizes : members of the humanitarian organization C-Sur, who were accused of being "criminals" because they helped "illegal" aliens, as a new french law put this kind of humanitarian activists under a "presumption of culpability" regime + Charles Hoareau, an unionist who refused to give his DNA sample after having been engaged in a fight with policemen during an illegal expulsion af an alien without papers, & who told the policemen he was OK to give them his saliva, but only if he could spit on them, rather than being obliged to open his mouth to let them take the sample. His story made the headlines in France, & some young detainees began to refuse to give their DNA (which is criminalized by the french law) following his refusal.
See you next year for the sixth edition of the Big Brother Awards France : http://www.bigbrotherawards.eu.org