Every year a person, an enterprise, a government agency or a measure is awarded the “prestigious” Big Brother Award. This award is named after the character in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984).
As a yearly tradition the Flemish League for Human rights and her partners hand out the Big Brother Awards in Flanders. Who wins this shameful price of biggest privacy offender of the year? A professional jury as well as the broad public decide who receives the award.
Why BBA’s? Even though privacy is a fundamental human right, we see the number of privacy issues grow every day. Raising awareness on this matter is one of the main goals of the Flemish League for Human rights.
The Big Brother Awards consist of a campaign and an event. During the weeks preceding the Awards, we ask the broad public to vote for one of the nominees through a public campaign. In addition to this, it is possible to register for the event, consisting of a ceremony, in which the Awards are handed out, and a thematic afternoon. This programme consists of debates, lectures and workshops related to the nominees. The complete programme will be available here at the end of August.
Human rights form the bedrock of our free and democratic society. It is therefore our mission to prevent and sue human rights violations in Belgium.
For this purpose, we increase the public support of human rights (by informing, raising awareness and becoming socially involved), inspire and fault the Belgian authorities’ policy, and legally challenge privacy violations in Belgium. We have four core themes: detention, privacy, freedom & security and discrimination.
Even though privacy is a fundamental human right, we see the number of privacy issues grow every day. Raising awareness on this matter is one of the main goals of the Flemish League for Human rights.
THIS CONVERSATION WILL BE RECORDED FOR SECURITY PURPOSES
Is privacy an obstacle in the fight against terrorism?
The right to privacy is anchored in our Constitution and in various international and European treaties. This right can only be restricted in absolute necessity. However, the League states that our privacy is being increasingly restricted, under the guise of fight against terrorism. The government can currently link all information about you: how long, with whom, where and when you call or mail. She is also recording all the data, as it might be useful in the future. Telefoontaps, nachtelijke huiszoekingen, … worden alsmaar gemakkelijker; iedereen kan er slachtoffer van worden. Phone tapping, nightly house searches,… are becoming increasingly easy; everybody can be a victim. But what if this information falls into the wrong hands? Why does a government need to know everything about everybody? An answer we often hear is: “To guarantee the citizens’ security”. But is that really the case? What price are we willing to pay for this “alleged” security?
The question we should ask ourselves is: doesn’t have everybody something to hide? Would you have your partner, employer or insurer read all your messages? You don’t need to be a bad person to want to hide something.
The Flemish League for Human Rights nominates the massive screening of citizens by the government, as happened last summer to Tomorrowland-visitors. This practise proved to be unlawfull and a clear violation of the (human)right to privacy, but more-over and more important; it is a an example of the evolving urge of our governments to monitor her citizens. We are worried of this hazardous evolution and want to put it to a halt.
With more than 47,000 places where cameras are placed, there is no longer any escape. Many of these cameras also keep getting “smarter”. However, under the pretext of the fight against terrorism, organised crime and nuisance, much more data are being collected than we actually realise. A high-tech spider web is being woven which offers unseen possibilities to monitor each citizen individually.
An increasing number of cities and municipalities present themselves as “Smart Cities” and massively collect without any authorisation or well-defined purposes their citizens’ data. As a result, everybody is victim of a large-scale data gathering without realising it. The citizens’ privacy urgently needs to be put on the local authorities’ agenda to restore the balance.
Your phones and computers just got less secure - blame the Belgian government. This year, the Belgian government followed the European trend of state-sponsored malware and adopted legislation that gives it's law enforcement agencies permission to access to chat messages, photos, video recordings, or other private data.
The 2017’s Big Brother Awards’ jury and public prize will be handed out on Friday, October 13th, in the Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg (KVS -Royal Flemish Theatre), TOP hall in Brussels. The doors open at 18:30.
For more information: