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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 11:02 GMT
Mayor Ken named Big Bad Brother
The Big Brother Award
The trophy is inspired by George Orwell's 1984
London mayor Ken Livingstone has won the Worst Public Servant category at this year's Big Brother Awards for his surveillance of transport systems.

He was a surprise winner, nominated for a series of travel and transport surveillance systems around the capital to help enforce the congestion charge.

The awards - organised by lobby group Privacy International - are designed to expose threats to privacy from governments and companies and are held annually in 15 countries around the globe.

This year saw a huge range of invasive technologies to choose from, said head of the organisation, Simon Davies.

Jumping on bandwagon

"Privacy invasion in Britain has become a vast industry that threatens the rights of everyone in Britain," he said.

"The judges were overwhelmed this year with the vast number of malodorous nominations. Many politicians and companies since the September 11 attacks jumped on to the security bandwagon without justification," he added.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone was a surprise winner
The Most Invasive Company award was won by Capita, a company behind many of the government's surveillance and data management schemes.

The Association of Chief Police Officers won the Most Heinous Government Organisation category for what the judges described as a "more active role in developing and promoting invasive schemes".

ID card not awarded

A central government scheme to share data on citizens across departments won the Most Appalling Project, despite heavy competition from the planned identity card.

The data scheme won out because "the judges felt the Entitlement card idea was just too stupid, woolly and nebulous to win", said Mr Davies.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, already struggling in the polls because of Britain's role in the Iraq war, won a Lifetime Menace Award for a series of policies attacking civil liberties.

And Home Secretary David Blunkett was singled out for his role in widening the laws on net snooping.

"The UK government is attempting to systematically extinguish the right to privacy," said Mr Davies.

"Their plans should be resisted by everyone who cares about freedom," he added.

Winston awards, given out to individuals and organisations who have made an outstanding contribution to protecting rights and privacy, went posthumously to computer pioneer Dr Roger Needham and to Teri Dowty, who co-ordinates the Children's Rights Alliance for England and Wales.

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09 Sep 02 |  Technology
Net monitoring scheme under fire
04 Mar 02 |  Sci/Tech
Cautious response to 'snoop' plans
11 Mar 03 |  Technology
UK snooping laws in disarray
18 Jan 02 |  Sci/Tech

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