Dutch home affairs minister is Big Brother of the year

plasterkHome affairs minister Ronald Plasterk has been named ‘winner’ of this year’s Big Brother Award by online privacy watchdog Bits of Freedom.

Plasterk was given the title for draft legislation on internet tapping which critics say is a virtual Big Brother charter and gives ‘unprecedented’ powers to the security services.

Health insurance company Achmea, nominated for its approach to big data, and software company Microsoft were in second and third place in the public vote.

The minister said in a reaction that he is proud of the work he is involved in. ‘There is a reason why there has not been a major terrorist attack in the Netherlands for the past 10 years,’ he said. As political head of the AIVD security service his role requires ‘infringing privacy rules if necessary for national security,’ the minister said.

Plasterk was also nominated for the ‘expert’ prize but was beaten to that honour by the national police force. It was nominated for proposing the introduction of ‘predictive policing’ – the practice of basing police work on data which forecasts likely criminal behaviour.

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