BigBrotherAwards 2005

Otto Schily, Minister for the Interior, increased his record to two BigBrotherAwards in 2005. After the jury had “honoured” him in the “Politics” category in 2001, he was now recognised for his lifetime achievements. This shows that our work must continue! Other awards went to the Federal State government of Lower Saxony, and for judges and numerous organisations that employ video surveillance.

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  • Friday, 11 June 2021, the BigBrotherAwards 2021 were awarded at the Hechelei in Bielefeld. Find the winners here.
  • The 2020 German BigBrotherAwards gala took place on Friday, 18 September 2020, at the Hechelei in Bielefeld. See here for more.
  • The BigBrotherAwards 2019 were bestowed on 8 June 2019 at Bielefeld Theatre. The winners can be found on our 2019 page.

Awardees 2005

Lifetime Achievement: Otto Schily

Mr Otto Schily, former Federal Minister of the Interior of Germany earns a BigBrotherAward for the current undemocratic introduction of the biometric passport, the technology of which is still immature and unsafe and which causes the whole population to be subjected to a police identification procedure normally applied to criminals.
Mr Schily will receive the BigBrotherAward also for his Lifetime Achievement, namely for the extension of the German and European surveillance system, to the severe cost of civic and freedom rights, and for his persistent efforts at eroding data protection under the guises of public security and fight against terror.

Politics: Saatgut Treuhand Verwaltung

"Saatgut Treuhand Verwaltungs GmbH", represented through CEO Mr Dirk Otten earns a BigBrotherAward for collecting data about farmers, for taking thousands of farmers unwilling to give their data to court, for procuring customers’ data from cooperatives and clandestine test-shopping at farmers’ shops. The farmers were suspected by Saatgut Treuhand to use potatos or other crops from their own harvests for next year’s plantings. For establishing a centralised control structure for the collection of fines as a service to the seed industry.

Governmental Authorities: Government of Lower Saxony

The Government of the state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), represented through the state's Prime Minister Mr Christian Wulff earns a BigBrotherAward for destroying the data protection authority in Lower Saxony. The supervision of data protection in the economy is to be handed over to Lower Saxony's Ministry of the Interior as of 1 Jan 2006. This undermines proceedings by the EU-Commission recently opened against Germany for breach of contract through disregard of the EU data protection directive. The EU directive requires total independence of data protection supervision.

Communication: High Office of Public Prosecution SH

The Generalstaatsanwaltschaft (High Office of Public Prosecution) of the state of Schleswig-Holstein, represented through Mr Erhard Rex earns a BigBrotherAward for the extensive search for witnesses (who were then treated like suspects) through locating mobile phones. This is the first massive search of mobile phone cells. Phone companies were forced to disclose complete connection data for a whole region. Data protectors of the state of Schleswig-Holstein who wanted to investigate this case were denied access to the related police files.

Consumer Protection: FIFA World Cup 2006

The organising committee for the soccer World Cup within the German football association (Deutscher Fussballbund, DFB) - represented by Mr Franz Beckenbauer earns a BigBrotherAward for the inquisitorial questions asked in ticket application forms, for their plans of sharing customer data with FIFA and its sponsors, and for the use of RFID spychips in the tickets and thus the attempt to make this surveillance technology acceptable - directly benefiting a World Cup sponsor (RFID producer Philips).

Politics: Volker Bouffier

The Minister of the Interior of the state of Hesse, Mr Volker Bouffier, earns a BigBrotherAward for the "preventive" locating and tapping of mobile phones; for DNA-analysing child delinquents under 14 for use in future prosecution; for authorising Hessian police to scan car licence numbers even when there is no suspicion of a crime; for using video surveillance while checking identities of members of the public.

About BigBrotherAwards

The BigBrotherAwards highlight privacy and data protection offenders in business and politics, they have consequently been called “Oscars for data leeches” by the French paper Le Monde.

The German awards are organised and held by  Digitalcourage. Among the co-organisers are the German Association for Data Protection (Deutsche Vereinigung für Datenschutz, DVD), International League for Human Rights and the Chaos Computer Club.