The Dutch chamber of trade organisations (KvK) has won this year’s Big Brother Award for selling the personal information of self-employed people to advertisers.
Almost four in 10 people who took part in the vote opted for the KvK. ‘People are really irritated if they have to register as a company and then are phoned continuously by salesmen and women,’ said Hans de Zwart, director of privacy lobby group Bits of Freedom, which organises the awards.
Last year, the KvK said it would remove phone numbers from its public directories because they are being used for cold-call marketing. Four in 10 self-employed people consulted by the KvK said they are frequently bothered by telephone marketeers and in nearly four in five times, the approach is made by phone.
The KvK said in a reaction that it is not happy with the prize but that it understands the complaints. ‘We are required by law to extend this information if it is requested, without permission,’ the organisation said in a written reaction to broadcaster NOS.
Facebook and the tax office were also nominated for the award. The tax office has been under fire for forcing the self-employed to incorporate their personal ID number into their value-added tax code.
Health minister Hugo de Jonge won the ‘expert’ jury award for measures to tackle health insurance fraud. These involve giving insurance companies access to medical files and are described by doctors as a serious infringement of medical secrecy rules.
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