For the record

October 22, 1999

* Tony Blair's "Big Brother" government is the most Orwellian ever to be elected in the United Kingdom, according to a visiting academic at the London School of Economics.

Simon Davies, visiting fellow at the LSE and director of Privacy International, said that New Labour presented an unprecedented threat to civil liberties. Mr Davies said this was because of the government's self-justified belief in the need for intrusive government combined with the unparalleled opportunities for intrusion and control offered by new technology. "I am nervous about this government and believe we could be looking down the barrel of a classic Orwellian society," he said.

The attack came as Privacy International presented its second annual "Big Brother" awards on Monday. The Home Office won a lifetime menace award for, among other things, interception of electronic communications, while home secretary Jack Straw won an award for worst public servant. Last year's "winning" government department was Trade and Industry.

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