BigBrotherAwards 2009Up one level
Gerhart Baum has sent a message to the 10th BigBrotherAwards gala.
The BigBrotherAwards have reached 10 years. High time for a critical, but also proud look back. The issues of privacy and data protection have made it to the mainstream of society now. Does that make the BigBrotherAwards old news? Hardly, as the invisible, intangible, anonymous, digital "Big Brother" is spreading across the land like a huge data leech. The only remedy can be education, transparency, good law-making and – the passion to stand up for freedom and civil rights.
More and more data is raised “incidentally”. Some could be avoided, but not all. We must think about rules that could make a digitally networked world worth living in – each one of us and most of all, all of us together. Because we do of course have something to hide and protect: our private sphere.
A look at two earlier “winners”, and what happened then …
The BigBrotherAward in the “Sports” category goes to the Local Organising Committee of the 2009 World Championships in Athletics, Berlin. It is given for their forcing journalists to agree to a comprehensive check of their personal data by the security authorities. Barely disguised under a cloak named “security”, they have committed a serious offence against a fundamental value of the free state: the freedom of the press.
The BigBrotherAward 2009 in the “Workplace” category goes to all those consumed by the delusion that you will get productive and motivated staff if you subject them to comprehensive monitoring and make their performance measurable by numbers. As a representative and winner on points, farm machines manufacturer Claas Landmaschinen (internationally known as Claas Group) receives the award for the bugged harvesting machines.
The BigBrotherAward 2009 in the “Business” category is given to a handful of German companies that sell Internet and phone surveillance technology and earn good money that way, while preferring to stay unnoticed themselves.