Eine Meldung Simon Davis an die Organisatoren des BigBrotherAwards.
Hi folks,

I am truly delighted to have this opportunity to say a few words about this
year's Big Brother Awards.

Before I continue, I want to offer my warmest congratulations to the
organisers and supporters of the Awards. Austria, Germany and Switzerland
have worked in close co-operation to create events of outstanding quality.
Their initiative and motivation has been inspiring. October 26th will most
definitely be a sobering day for many privacy invaders, as well as being a
wonderful day of celebration for the friends of privacy.

The Awards have become an outstanding success. Since 1998 they have spread
from the UK, the US and Austria, through to Germany, Switzerland and France,
and very soon to Hungary, Denmark and the Netherlands. Even more countries
are planning to establish awards in the near future.

The need for the Big Brother Awards has never been so pressing. Ever since
the tragic events of September 11th, the invasion of our privacy has
accelerated beyond our worst fears. National leaders in both hemispheres
have proclaimed that the common pursuit of a safer society must prompt a
"reassessment" of individual liberties and privacy. In other words,
authorities intend to engineer a substantial increase in the right of the
state to place controls on all citizens, and to create comprehensive
surveillance over as many people as possible.

A few of the surveillance initiatives proposed in recent weeks may have some
benefit, but most are little more than opportunistic attempts to reintroduce
bad proposals that failed to secure support in the past.

Some policy makers have already started to take aim at privacy, inferring
that this core right has aided the activities of terrorists, and will
continue to compromise the efforts of law enforcement.

This trend has been taking shape for some years, and has characterised the
legislative agenda of many countries. Concerns over increased civil
disobedience have prompted a curtailment of the right of freedom of movement
and freedom of assembly. Anxiety over lawlessness on the Internet has
nurtured sweeping new powers of communications interception by the state.
Fear of crime has galvanised a government-sponsored push for CCTV
surveillance. In the wake of such actions, free societies can easily become
surveillance societies.

With each new wave of public anxiety over crime and insecurity, the delicate
gyroscope of state power and individual rights is realigned. Sadly, the
realignment invariably occurs without either public consultation or rational
assessment. Threats are rarely quantified. Outcomes rarely projected.
Alternatives seldom considered. The recent events in the US can only have
the effect of triggering a further schism in civil society.

The Big Brother Awards on October 26th will be instrumental in alerting the
public to the current privacy crisis. The Awards will put privacy invaders
on notice that the watchers are being watched. And most important of all,
the events will galvanise the many supporters and protectors of privacy.

Once again I offer my warmest congratulations to all those involved in the
awards. I look forward with excitement to an exciting and important evening.

Simon Davies
Founder and Director
Privacy International