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Blunkett, DfES to get privacy shame awards

Quis custodiet all over in Big Brother UK awards

Home secretary David Blunkett and the Dept for Education and Skills will be among those nominated for this year's information privacy 'awards of shame', hosted by Privacy International on 4 March, PC Advisor can reveal.

The fourth annual UK Big Brother Awards ceremony, to be held at the London School of Economics, will 'honour' government agencies, companies and initiatives that have done most to invade personal privacy.

David Blunkett said he wanted to introduce ID cards by 30 September 2001, but unsurprisingly they failed to materialise. He is also accused of adding extreme clauses to the Data Protection Act 1998, in an effort to tighten up electronic surveillance procedures following the September terrorist attacks, which created mass complaints from privacy groups.

"It's tradition to nominate the home secretary, as there are always many things we can blame them for," said Simon Davies, spokesman at Privacy International.

"Due to a number of legal threats last year, we have been told to keep tight-lipped about who is up for an award at this stage. But I can tell you the list is longer than ever before; there are quite a few candidates from the IT realm for some rather dodgy security programs which claim to do things they obviously do not do," said Davies.

At last year's ceremony, on 4 December, Jack Straw was awarded a 'lifetime menace award'.

The nominations list, currently around 200 names long, is due to be short-listed over the next couple of weeks. This will be followed by a meeting between all the judges to discuss candidates.

For more information go to the Privacy International website.


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