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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 July, 2004, 18:03 GMT 19:03 UK
Hodge wins 'Big Brother' award
Margaret Hodge
Hodge received numerous nominations
Minister for Children Margaret Hodge has won the Worst Public Servant category at pressure group Privacy International's Big Brother awards.

Ms Hodge was nominated for her backing of controversial legislation allowing the authorities to share detailed information on children.

The awards aim to expose threats to privacy from government and businesses.

Other winners this year include the Office of National Statistics and the US visa programme.

The Big Brother awards, first held in 1998, now take place as annual event in seventeen countries.

'Intrusive'

The Children Bill, currently being debated by the House of Lords, will allow schools, doctors and social services to share information on children.

Each of Britain's 11 million children will have their personal details entered onto a database and will be given a unique identification number.

Professionals will be encouraged to monitor children's behaviour including the likely risk of teenage pregnancy, social exclusion and potential for criminal activity using the system.

Mrs Hodge has also said the behaviour of parents - including drug and alcohol use - may be recorded.

The government believes the system will help the authorities stop children becoming victims of abuse.

Critics argue that children could be stigmatised as criminals from an early age.

Privacy International also criticised the minister for introducing a "wide spectrum of intrusive databases and information systems."

'Lifetime Menace'

The Most Appalling Project award went to the NHS National Programme for Information Technology.

The plans to computerise patient records were described by Privacy International as "insecure and dangerous to patient privacy".

The Big Brother Award
The trophy is inspired by George Orwell's 1984

The Office of National Statistics won the Most Heinous Government Organisation award for the Citizen's Information Project.

The project will hold personal information on all British citizens as part of a population register.

The Lifetime Menace award went to the US Visit Programme.

The scheme aims to fingerprint all visitors to the US from September of this year.

Privacy International also said David Blunkett and the Home Office had received the most nominations for the awards - but as he had won awards in previous years he would be be omitted this time.




SEE ALSO:
Mayor Ken named Big Bad Brother
25 Mar 03  |  Technology
Child plans worry home educators
31 Mar 04  |  Education
Hodge admits making 'big mistake'
05 Dec 03  |  Politics


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