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[] Ashcroft bekommt Big Brother Award USA 2002,

Ellison, Ashcroft win 'Big Brother' awards

April 19, 2002, 6:15 AM PT

SAN FRANCISCO--U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and database
billionaire Larry
Ellison were named this year's most notorious American violators of
personal privacy
by leading advocacy groups on Thursday. 

The annual "Big Brother Awards" are presented to government,
corporations and private individuals who allegedly have done the most to
threaten personal privacy. 

Privacy International, a London-based activist organization made up of
privacy experts and human rights organizations from several dozen
countries, presented the awards at the annual "Computers, Freedom &
Privacy" conference here this week. They were joined by well-known U.S.
privacy activists. 

The "Worst Government Official" award went to Ashcroft. Privacy
International said the top U.S. law enforcement officer is responsible
for a massive increase in wiretapping of phones and other electronics
and for the imprisonment without charge of as many as 1,200 people in
the United States in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on America. 

The "Worst Corporate Invader" honor went to Ellison of Oracle, the
world's leading maker of database software, for his advocacy of a
centralized, Oracle-run government database that could be used as a
national identification system. 

The honors are given out in the spirit of author George Orwell and his
warning about police surveillance in the totalitarian world of his novel

"The goal is to name and shame the bad actors," said privacy advocate
Jason Catlett, president and founder of Junkbusters of Green Brook, New

Other awards included "Most Invasive Company," "Most Appalling Project"
and "Lifetime Menace." Each "winner" received a golden statue depicting
a jackboot pressing down on a human head.

"There's not a lot of surprises here," Evan Hendricks, editor of the
Washington-based Privacy Times newsletter, said of the Big Brother

Most recipients fail to pick up the honor in person. 

The "Most Appalling Project" honor went to the Enhanced Computer
Assisted Passenger
Pre-Screening (CAPPS) project, a pre-flight screening of airline
passengers set up in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. The advocacy
group argues this amounts to discriminatory treatment of passengers
based on race or certain consumer behaviors. 

Privacy International singled out technology developers on the project
including: HNC Software, a maker of fraud detection tools; Acxiom, a
collector of business and consumer data; and Equifax, a credit
information agency. 

Privacy International also hands out similar awards in eight European

"What Americans tend to forget is that what happens here in America in
terms of privacy practices and technologies is getting exported to other
countries and undermining their privacy practices," said Stephan
Endberg, a privacy consultant with Open Business Innovation, based in
Copenhagen, Denmark.

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