What are the BigBrotherAwards?

The BigBrotherAwards are “negative” or “anti” awards to companies, institutions and persons who act in a prominent and sustained way to invade people's privacy or malhandle (personal) data. By highlighting individual stories that were researched in detail, we bring the relevant issues onto the political agenda and become a clear voice in the German privacy movement. Starting in the United Kingdom in 1998, these awards have now been presented in 19 countries – the full list of award dates can be found on the international Big Brother Awards site.

The German BigBrotherAwards are organised by Digitalcourage (formerly FoeBuD) in Bielefeld and were first presented in 2000. A gala is held every year, publicising a handful of winners in various categories.

The name was taken from George Orwell’s dystopian novel  “1984”, which as early as in the late 1940s put forward the author's vision of a future society under total surveillance. The sculpture for the German BigBrotherAwards was designed for the first ceremony by Peter Sommer, an artist and sculptor from Oerlinghausen (near Bielefeld). The sculpture shows a figure tied by a lead band and bisected by a glass pane which is inscribed with a hexadecimal encoding of a passage from Huxley's “Brave New World”.

The German jury is made up from members of Digitalcourage, the Chaos Computer Club (CCC), the International League for Human Rights (ILMR), and the German Association for Data Protection (Deutsche Vereinigung für Datenschutz, DVD), the Humanistische Union (HU) and other organisations.

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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.

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.