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Gongs for privacy prowlers

Big Brother still watching five years on

The mayor of London Ken Livingstone was yesterday awarded the title of 'Worst public servant' at Civil liberties group Privacy International's fifth annual Big Brother awards.

Livingstone was nominated for his 'obsession with travel and transport surveillance' while Capita, the company behind the congestion scheme, picked up the 'Most invasive company award'.

"The judges were overwhelmed this year with a vast number of malodorous [sic] nominations," said Simon Davies, director of Privacy International. "The UK government is attempting to systematically extinguish the right to privacy. Their plans should be resisted by everyone who cares about freedom."

The 'Most heinous government organisation' title went to the Association of Chief Police Officers, beating last year's winner the Home Office, for its active role in developing invasive initiatives.

Prime Minister Tony Blair was not forgotten, pipping David Blunkett to the post for the 'Lifetime Menace award'.

On a more positive note, yesterday’s ceremony also saw the presentation of the Winston awards — given to the person or organisation who has made an outstanding contribution to the protection of rights and privacy. This year they went to, among others, Teri Dowty, joint national co-ordinator for the Children's Rights Alliance, and to American group Stand, which acts as a voice for children nationwide.


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