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Winners Announced!

25 November 2004: The Australian Privacy Foundation (APF) today announced the winners of the second annual Australian Big Brother Awards for privacy intruders, affectionately known as the ‘Orwells’. See the media release and full report of the winners.

[See also an earlier media release setting out previous winners, from the first Australian Big Brother Awards in September 2003, and this year’s release calling for nominations: Australia goes for Gold in the Orwells.]

The Winners of 2004 Australian Big Brother Awards

You can follow this link to a media release and the full report about who won what, and why. [PDF]

Or if you can’t wait, here are the winners:

  • Lifetime Menace: Carl Scully, NSW Minister for Roads
  • People’s choice: Queensland Smartcard Drivers Licence
  • Greatest corporate invader: Major political parties
  • Worst Public Agency or Official: Bob Debus, NSW Attorney-General
  • Most invasive technology: Biometric passports

And, on the side of privacy protection:

  • Best Privacy Guardian: John Pane, Australia Post’s Chief Privacy Officer

See below for media contact details.

About the Big Brother Awards

Big Brother Awards are presented around the world by the national members and affiliated organisations of Privacy International to corporations, public officials and governments that have shown a blatant disregard for privacy, those who have done the most to threaten personal privacy in their countries.
The awards also feature categories for individuals and organisations who have made a major positive contribution to protecting the privacy of Australians.

Since 1998, over 50 ceremonies have been held in 16 countries.

The Australian Big Brother Awards, hosted by the Australian Privacy Foundation, were established in 2003.

(The Australian Big Brother Awards have no relationship to the recent TEN Network TV programme with a similar name.)

The Nature of the Awards

The awards are in the nature of a spoof “Oscars” (the Big Brother Awards have become affectionately known as the “Orwells”, after George Orwell, the author of 1984, in which Big Brother first appeared). They should be good fun, incorporating humour, popular participation, and audio visual support.

Award winners will be presented with an award certificate to commemorate their achievement upon request.

Among the many award categories for bad deeds, below, there are also two positive awards for good works in the service of protection of privacy called the "Smith".

The Award Categories

The Big Brother Awards for privacy abusers

The categories of privacy abuser for which nominations are sought:
    1. Lifetime Menace – for a privacy invader with a long record of profound disregard for privacy.
    2. Greatest Corporate Invader – for a corporation that has shown a blatant disregard of privacy.
    3. Worst Public Agency or Official – for a government agency or official that has shown a blatant disregard of privacy.
    4. Most Invasive Technology – for a technology that is particularly privacy invasive.
    5. Boot in the Mouth – for the ‘best’ (most appalling!) quote on a privacy-related topic.
    6. People’s Choice – this is decided by popular vote, and given to the individual or organisation most frequently nominated by the public.

The ‘Smith’ Awards for Privacy Defenders

Nominations are also sought for two awards to be given to champions of privacy, those who have done exemplary work to protect and enhance this elusive right. These will be called ‘the Smiths’ after Orwell's rebellious hero, Winston Smith, who struggled against the nightmarish regime of Big Brother. Their name also recalls Ewart Smith, the man who stopped the Australia Card. And there's more! Their name acknowledges the common use of the name ‘Smith’ as a pseudonym, a practical step towards the right to anonymity acknowledged in privacy principles.

    1. Best Privacy Guardian – for a meritorious act of privacy protection or defence.
    2. Lifetime Achievement – for provision of outstanding services to privacy protection.

Nominations for the awards are solicited from the public, and are received
either by mail or through the APF web site.You can send in nominations
for your favourite privacy abuser on the Nomination page

What happens next?

Nominations are forwarded to our panel of judges who will identify winners
in each category above, including tallying the ‘People's Choice’, the one with the most nominations.

The judges have absolute discretion, and are not confined to the nominations received by members of the public.

The Australian Privacy Foundation may post the most popular current nominations on this site.

The winners are announced in around November each year.


The 2003 Big Brother Awards

The Australian Big Brother Awards, hosted by the Australian Privacy Foundation, were established in 2003.

Nominations opened on 25 June 2003 for the first Australian 'Big Brother Awards' for privacy intruders.
See the initial media release and the Invitation to nominate.

Awards were presented by the Australian Privacy Foundation in Sydney on 8 September 2003.
See the Media Release setting out the winners of the Awards.

The BBA awards night was held in collaboration with several pre-existing conferences, including the 25th International Privacy Commissioner's conference being held in Sydney starting on Wednesday 10 September 2003, the "Surveillance and Privacy 2003: Terrorist and Watchdogs" conference at UNSW starting on Monday 8th September, and the formation of the Asia-Pacific Privacy Charter Council

The judges for the first Australian Big Brother Awards in 2003 were:

  • Wendy Bacon, Associate Professor in Journalism, University of Technology Sydney; investigative journalist.
  • Julian Burnside QC, barrister, Melbourne
  • Dr Peter Chen, Centre for Public Policy, University of Melbourne
  • Ian Dearden, President, Qld Council of Civil Liberties
  • Irene Graham, Executive Director, Electronic Frontiers Australia
  • Sean Kidney, Chief Executive Officer, Social Change Online
  • Kerrie Murphy, journalist, Australian IT newspaper supplement
  • Chris Puplick, formerly NSW Privacy Commissioner
  • Nigel Waters, Privacy Consultant, formerly Deputy Australian Privacy Commissioner
  • Dr Derek Wilding, Director, Communications Law Centre

(Judges are disqualified from receiving positive awards.)

BBA around the world

The Privacy International awards are staged as an annual event in countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Belgium and France. Each BBA event is held at a national level, with judges and nominees drawn from the relevant country.

Since 1998, over 50 ceremonies have been held in 16 countries.

The first BBA was held in London, England, on October 26, 1998. This inaugural UK event attracted an audience of around 250 civil rights activists, privacy advocates, academics and media. A full report is available at the BBA homepage.

The inaugural US awards were staged in Washington DC on April 7, 1999, during the 9th Computers Freedom and Privacy (CFP) conference. Around 500 people attended the event, which was extensively reported by media. Since then, the awards have become a much-loved feature of this annual conference.

Media Contact

Anna Johnston – 0400 432 241 or (02) 9432 0320
Australian Privacy Foundation
Phone: 0400 432 241 or (02) 9432 0320 (+61 400 432 241 international)