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New Awards Will Honour Privacy Abusers

Hosted by the Auckland Council for Civil Liberties

Media release
Wednesday 21 January 2004

New Awards Will Honour Privacy Abusers

Public nominations opened today for the first New Zealand “Big Brother Awards”, a competition to recognise individuals and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to the abuse of privacy in New Zealand. An awards ceremony will follow – hosted by the Auckland Council for Civil Liberties – where the winners will be publicly announced.

Big Brother Awards are already held annually in many other countries (United Kingdom, the United States, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Belgium, France and Australia).

New Zealand spokesperson, Auckland law lecturer Tim McBride, said it was a good time to bring the awards to New Zealand, following a rapid erosion of personal privacy in New Zealand in recent years.

He said the organisers are expecting a lot of strong entries. “New Zealand has suffered increasing surveillance, a string of intrusive new laws and the now the landmark government actions against refugee Ahmed Zaoui. It is time for those responsible to be suitably acknowledged in public.”

The award categories are:

1. Person of the Year: supreme winner, for outstanding abuse or disregard of privacy and civil liberties in New Zealand
2. Worst Elected Representative: for the elected representative who has most neglceted or abused their responsibilities to protect privacy
3. Long-term menace: for a privacy invader with a long record of profound disregard for privacy.
4. Worst Corporate: for a corporation that has shown a blatant disregard of privacy.
5. Worst public agency or officials: for a government agency or official that has most systematically invaded privacy.
6. Boot in mouth: the ‘best’ (most appalling!) quote on a privacy-related topic.
There will also be Best Privacy Guardian and Long-term Achievement awards for people or organisations responsible for outstanding privacy protection.

The award organisers are distributing nomination forms around the country, inviting nominations and supporting evidence from members of the public. Anonymous entries are being accepted to ensure that people in sensitive jobs are still able to make nominations.

The judges for the Awards are a distinguished group of privacy lecturers and legal experts from throughout New Zealand. After nominations close on 27 February, they will consider all the entries and decide on winners, who will be announced at a special event in Auckland.


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