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The 2012’s Biggest Sleuths in Our Privacy Revealed!

17. 1. 2013 | 16:12

The results of the eighth year of the contest for sleuths searching our private affairs, Big Brother Awards for 2012, were announced on January 16 in the Atlas cinema at a festive occasion organised, as the tradition has been, by Iuridicum Remedium civil association. The seven jurors – experts in new technologies, lawyers, human right champions and journalists chose the winners from amongst the nominees sent up by the general public. The anti-awards are awarded in seven categories like, for example, Long-Term Sleuth, Biggest Corporate Sleuth, Big Brother Legal Standard or Big Brother Statement. A positive award is also awarded regularly in appreciation of privacy protection. Out of this year’s winners, we can mention the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs for the sKarta project, Prague 13 for hypertrophic camera system or the ski resorts which implemented new methods to check skiers with passes.

The reason behind the award being presented to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs for the sKarta project is, besides the unfortunate combination of the identification and payment functions of the card, mainly the fact that the database of individuals who should be issued an sKarta has been handed over by the Ministry to a private bank - Česka spořitelna. “MoLSA was really busy last year; besides sKarta, we can also mention the contested database of applicants for social benefits or support for yet another card, the employee card, towards the end of the year,” said Jan Vobořil of IuRe. The Risky New Technology was also chosen from the nominations sent in; the technology used by Czech skiing resorts to monitor skiers. In order to prevent resale of skiing passes, some ski complex operators have implemented a new control system. This gathers the skiers’ personal data, particularly facial photographs and information on body height.

The winners in other categories were Prague 13 for long-term efforts toward placing as many CCTV cameras as possible (Long-Term Sleuth), Microsoft for the project of watching households by means of Kinect (Corporate Sleuth), Russian Federation for the plans of monitoring and controlling the contents of social networks and Internet censorship (Sleuth Amongst the Nations), EU for legislative activities aiming to implement the eCall system (Big Brother’s Legal Stadard) and Zdeněk Ondráček, ex-investigator of the Corruption and Financial Criminality Investigation Unit of the Czech Republic Police for his statements published at the Česká pozice.cz server concerning the benefits of police DNA analyses. In his article, Ondráček writes, inter alia, that “No decent citizen has any problem giving a DNA sample and having it examined to confirm that he or she has not committed the crime.” This statement is based on the well-spread opinion that he who does nothing bad has nothing to worry about and should give up his privacy, ideally completely, for the benefit of state bodies. Particularly when combined with insufficient regulation of the police utilisation of such a sensitive information carrier like DNA, the jury concluded this statement was the clear winner,” added Jan Vobořil.

The positive award for protection of privacy was awarded to the journalist, Jiří Peterka, for his long-term lecturing and publishing dedicated to information privacy-related topics. “Mr Peterka contributes his erudite articles and lectures to spread the awareness of the risks technology, particularly with both new and old efforts towards controlling others, might pose for our privacy,” concluded Vobořil.
The Big Brother Awards refer to the famous George Orwell book 1984; it was first held in Great Britain in 1998. The awards are currently awarded in more than ten European countries; they aim to point out the risks to citizens’ privacy. In the Czech Republic, the award ceremony was first held in 2005 by the NGO, Iuridicum Remedium.


Mgr. et Mgr. Jan Vobořil, Iuridicum Remedium, o. s.
+420 728 937 902

The 2012’s Biggest Sleuths in Our Privacy Revealed!
The 2012’s Biggest Sleuths in Our Privacy Revealed!
The 2012’s Biggest Sleuths in Our Privacy Revealed!
The 2012’s Biggest Sleuths in Our Privacy Revealed!

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