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Public privacy menaces honoured

Government nets lion's share of privacy wooden spoons

The Anti-Terrorism Act's strict requirements concerning the storage of all communication data was branded the 'Most Appalling Project' at last night's Big Brother privacy shame awards.

Nominations for the awards, announced last week, included the Home Secretary David Blunkett and the Internet Watch Foundation. The awards were set up by Privacy International to shame those bodies which have done their utmost to erode public privacy and honour those who have made contributions to preserving privacy.

"We have been almost overwhelmed this year by a flood of new entries, many of which involve technologies and techniques that are beyond the control of law, and outside the comprehension of policy makers," said Simon Davies, head of Privacy International.

The Lifetime Menace Award, as predicted, went to the government's scheme to introduce national ID cards, backed by Blunkett. The plan involves a much-criticised data-sharing scheme between government and individuals.

Thankfully there were also a few heroes, including Germen Green Party MEP Ilka Schroeder for her work in investigating the Echelon spying ring.

"It has become clear that government agencies and companies have stooped to an all-time low in the wilful violation of our privacy," added Davies.

Other awards went to MP Richard Wilson, the Department for Education and Skills and insurance firm Norwich Union. For more details see www.privacyinternational.org

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