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NSA and FBI big winners at Big Brother awards

Worthy winners of breaching privacy online Oscars

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The great and the good, when it comes to privacy invasion, have been "honoured" for their efforts to mess up life for the rest on us online.

Privacy International last night handed out "Big Brother" awards to government agencies, companies and initiatives which have done most to invade personal privacy.

The National Security Agency, the US government's signals intelligence arm, took a lifetime menace award for "clipper, Echelon and 50 years of spying". In a separate category, the FBI's Carnivore email surveillance system was judged the most invasive proposal of the year.

Among the more recipients of prizes was the city of Tampa which earned its gong for its efforts to spy on all of the fans at this year's Superbowl.

ChoicePoint, which sold personal records (sometimes inaccurate) to cops and direct marketers, was the final recipient of an "Orwell" trophy. The trophy depicts an image from George Orwell's book "1984" and shows a boot stamping on a human head, representing human privacy and liberty being crushed for all eternity. This dystopian world is controlled by a mythical supreme ruler, called Big Brother.

Among the firms that narrowly avoided getting the award were IBM, for lobbying in favour of anti-privacy laws, Nortel Networks and VeriSign's Network Solutions subsidiary, for selling its WHOIS database. Shame!

The awards weren't all doom and gloom and Privacy International also honoured those who have championed the cause of privacy. The recipients of this award were Evan Hendricks, for 20 years of publishing the Privacy Times and Julie Brill of Vermont Attorney General's Office. ®

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Privacy International 3rd annual Big Brother awards

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