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Minister Plasterk and National Police Force winners Dutch Big Brother Awards 2015

The winners of the Dutch Big Brother Awards 2015 are minister of the Interior Ronald Plasterk, and the chief of the National Police Force. The minister won for proposing the most far reaching surveillance law Dutch secret services have ever had, while at the same time refusing to listen to feedback and criticism to that proposal as given by concerned citizens and experts. The chief of the National Police Force won for his wish to use ‘predictive policing’, based on big data. Its goal is to predict crime. However, what it actually does is creating a shift in the definition of crime: people’s behavior differing from that of the general crowd shall become its criterion, not illegal activity. The positive privacy award, the Felipe Rodriguez Award, went to Max Schrems, the 28-year-old Austrian who, in several court cases, brought both Facebook and the NSA in a defensive position.

Audience Award
For the Audience Award, anyone in the Netherlands could nominate candidates. A list was made of the three most nominated candidates, after which people could vote. Ronald Plasterk won with a majority of votes, 57%. The other two candidates for the Audience Award were insurance company Achmea (for choosing big data over solidarity as the general principle on which the insurance system is based) and Microsoft (for its privacy settings and privacy violating terms of services for Windows 10).

Expert Award
Bits of Freedom requested several experts in the field of privacy to nominate candidates, specifically parties that may not have received much (media) attention, but still deserve to be nominated. Besides the winner, the National Police Force, the other nominated candidates were hotel Van der Valk in Hengelo, the Netherlands (for voluntarily and systematically sharing its guest lists with the police) and, again, minister Plasterk (for his proposal for a new secret services act, see above).

Positive privacy award: Felipe Rodriguez Award
The positive privacy award, previously named the Winston Award, has this year been renamed after, and in honor of, Felipe Rodriguez. Felipe is one of the founders of Dutch Internet service providers XS4ALL and De Digitale Stad, a prominent supporter of Bits of Freedom, and one of the initiators of the Dutch digital rights movement. Felipe passed away on October 6th, 2015, but his life story illustrates the power of an individual to change things for the better. By renaming the award after Felipe, Bits of Freedom hopes his example will inspire others to fight for privacy and Internet freedom.

This year’s winner of the Felipe Rodriguez Award is Max Schrems, the founder of ‘Europe versus Facebook’, and initiator of the court case regarding ‘Safe Harbor’. In this case the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on October 6th, 2015 that Europe does not sufficiently protect the privacy of European citizens against the NSA, the United States’ National Security Agency.

The Felipe Rodriguez Award is made possible with support from XS4ALL.

About the Big Brother Awards
Every year, the Big Brother Awards put the biggest privacy offenders of that year in the spotlights. The Dutch 2015 edition of this event was held at the Stadsschouwburg in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on 28 October 2015. The event is organized by Dutch digital rights movement Bits of Freedom, to illustrate the current state of the right to privacy in the Netherlands.

Translation from Dutch into English by one of our volunteers; thanks!

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