30 10 2000
Big Brother Award 2000 Austria
++ Surveillance has Many Faces, We Name Them ++ Links ++
As high speed communication networks spread over
the globe, the private sphere of the individual
is - for the sake of investigation and marketing,
criminal justice and statistics - reduced to a
precarious existence. Surveillance, operating
discretely in the background, has become a common
feature of the information society, which appears
to be striving towards a complete social and
commercial control of each individual.
To raise awareness, each year a growing number
of digital human rights organizations present the
Big Brother Award to Government agencies and private
companies, who have done their best to invade the
Austrian citizens privacy. This year´s Award has
been presented by ARGE DATEN, Chello Usergroup,
Public Netbase - Institute for New Culture
Technologies, Quintessenz and VIBE!AT
++ 26/10/2000 The Austrian Big Brother Award 2000
Ceremony took place at Vienna´s most famous night-
club, the Flex, ++ Here are the winners in the
five categories of the Big Brother Award 2000
Austria, and why they have been chosen by the jury ++
Business/Finances - Saturn - When paying with
the EC-Card at the multimedia store “Saturn”,
customers unsuspectingly and irrevocably approve
of their personal data ”being forwarded”.
Politics: - AUF - The Austrian police union
affiliated to the FPOE “AUF” deliberately
misappropriated data from the Department of the
Interior to intimidate political opponents.
Authorities and Administration - Helmi - 'Helmi'
is the nickname for the anonymous Austrian trial
witnesses, who, disguised with a helmet or facemask,
have repeatedly appeared before the Austrian court.
Based on nothing but “Helmi´s” statements, one
person has already been sentenced to 1,5 year of
prison. ”Helmi” will be a case for the European
Court for human rights.
Communication - Austrian Siemens PSG - In the
SEC Lawfull Interception LI Team of the European
Telecom Standards Institute [ETSI] technicians
from the Austrian Siemens Branch PSE und other
international telecommunication companies
work together with Police and Secret service
contacts to specify the technical infrastructure
and the interception interfaces of all future
digital telephone nodes in Europe.
Lifetime Achievement - Dieter Boehmdorfer -
Austrian Minister of Justice. He used to be
the legal adviser of the FPOe. In his position
as the lawyer of the FPOe, he filed numerous
cases against journalists and other critics
of the FPOe. In some instances he evidently
made use of confidential sources of the Austrian
And at last the Public Award went to the - FPOe -
for known and well documented reasons.
In spite of the polite invitations by the
organizers, none of the proud and deserving
winners appeared in person at the award ceremony.
Instead, the Big Brother Awards were given to
trustworthy representatives, to be handed to
the winners at another occasion. But the story
took a different turn:
Later that evening the Big Brother Awards,
six metallic robot dogs, were drowned in the
nearby river by the cheering audience.
List of the nominees, who didn´t receive an award:
amazon.AT/American Express/SkiData AG/SPOe-Graz/
Minister of Interier Ernst Strasser/Peter Westenthaler
and Andreas Kohl/Austrian Justice Authorities/
the Masked Police Officers/Johann Szilvassy/Chello/
jet2web/A1, max, ONE, tele.ring/Neue Kronen-Zeitung/
Michael Sika/ Austrian Military Intelligence Office
We wish them good luck for the next year´s Big
Brother Award Round-Up.
Complete documentation of all the nominees and
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
The Computers Freedom & Privacy Conference
Center for Democracy and Technology
Preserving Privacy in the Information Society
by Marc Rotenberg