Privacy International today announced the nominees for its Big Brother awards, which are given to organisations that have violated people’s privacy rights the most over the past year. The awards will be presented at a ceremony at the London School of Economics on 4 March.
Up for the Most Appalling Project is the Electoral Reform Society, for its patronage of a report on the Independent Commission's alternative voting methods.
The most Heinous Government Organisation award looks set to go to the Department of Education and Skills for removing anonymity in the 2002 school census.
"The judges have been appalled at the depths to which this year's candidates have sunk," said director of Privacy International director, Simon Davies.
"During the judging process it has become clear that government agencies and companies have stooped to an all-time low in the wilful violation of our privacy," Davies said.
In a separate awards ceremony held on Wednesday, Ispa (the Internet Service Providers Association), chose the Home Office as this year's internet villain for its handling of the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, aka the 'Grim Ripa'.
Ispa’s awards ceremony, held at the London Olympia conference centre, chose the Home Office after last week’s announcement of further delays to the implementation of certain parts of Ripa, now not expected to become law until 4 March, the day the Big Brother Awards are announced.
Industry experts said the Act had been made even more difficult to put into practise because of the Home Office's handling.
But, on a brighter note, Elizabeth France, the newly installed information commissioner, was awarded internet hero and the judges said she was "sympathetic to the industry, non-bureaucratic and pragmatic".
Other Ispa awards went to the BBC for its online safety campaign and Freeserve, which won best national consumer ISP.