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Big Brother nominations released

Many of the usual suspects lined up

Civil liberties group Privacy International today released its shortlist for this year's Big Brother awards which are given to those bodies or persons who have done most throughout the year to invade personal privacy.

The Most Invasive Company Award will be fought between Capita, the company responsible for the technology behind London's controversial congestion charge scheme; the Argos superstore for its participation in a customer thumb-printing scheme; and credit reference company Experian, which won the award in 1999.

Nominations for the Lifetime Menace Award go to Tony Blair, David Blunkett and Capita.

"The judges have been overwhelmed this year with a vast number of malodorous nominations. Many politicians and companies have, since the 11 September attacks, jumped on to the security bandwagon without any justification," said Privacy International's director Simon Davies.

"We have noticed a disturbing level of hostility toward privacy over the past year by nearly all parts of government and the private sector," he added.

The Most Heinous Government Organisation Award is up for grabs by the Home Office, which has found itself in this category many times before, and newcomers the Lord Chancellor's Department and the Association of Chief Police Officers are also in the running.

In the Worst Public Servant category David Blunkett is rubbing shoulders with Ken Livingstone and the government's secretive 'Interception of Communications' Commissioner, Sir Swinton Thomas.

The awards will be presented on the 25 March at the London School of Economics.

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