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Straw in line for Lifetime Menace Big Brother award

Fierce rivalry from BT and Anne Widdecombe

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Jack Straw looks set to be named Britain's Big Brother over his handling of email snooping powers.

The Home Secretary, nominated for the 3rd UK Big Brother Awards, is in good company - other nominees that "have done the most to invade personal privacy in Britain" include BT, the TV Licensing organisation and Tory MP Anne Widdecombe.

The Big Brother-watching event, organised by human rights group Privacy International, dishes out muddy-coloured trophies in the shape of a boot stamping on a human head.

This year there will be five categories:

Most Invasive Company - shortlisted are I-CD Publishing, which created the reverse directory CD UK Info Disk, Visionics Corp, which masterminded the new generation of CCTV automatic face recognition software, and Envision Licensing Ltd, behind the country's TV Licensing system.

Also in the firing line is the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Bill - the government's email snooping law falls into the category of Most Appalling Project. It has strong competition from landlordsdata.com, which provides a blacklist of tenants online.

Most Heinous Government Organisation - a toughie, but so far a toss-up between the Home Office, Customs & Excise, and the DTI (it's crime: giving bosses staff-snooping powers).

Shortlisted for The Worst Public Servant award are Widdecombe and Charles Clarke (who helped push RIP through Parliament).

While the Lifetime Menace boot award looks set to end up on Mr Straw's mantelpiece, though other nominees include BT "for a litany of privacy violations reaching back more than twenty years".

The Big Brother Awards, which have also made annual appearances in the US, France, Austria, Germany and Switzerland, will take place on December 4 at the London School of Economics. The trophies, including some "Winston" awards for privacy protectors, will be presented by Channel 4 TV presenter Mark Thomas.

More details can be found here. ®

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