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Big Brother Watch

Big Brother Watch is a British civil liberties and privacy pressure group.[1] It was founded in 2009 to campaign against state surveillance and threats to civil liberties.[2] The group campaigns on a variety of issues including the rise of CCTV, freedom and privacy online, local authority spying under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers act, the protection of personal information and wider data protection issues. The campaign is headquartered in Westminster.[3] The name 'Big Brother Watch' originates from George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, published in 1949.

Big Brother Watch
Formation 2009
Type Pressure Group
  • London



The group was established in late 2009 and the official launch took place in January 2010 with Tony Benn and David Davis as guest speakers.[4]

Matthew Elliott is the Founder of Big Brother Watch, Renate Samson is Chief Executive, and Emma Carr is the Director. [5][6]

Reports and campaignsEdit

The group shut down its website in protest at the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act proposed United States legislation, warning that similar plans may be proposed in the UK.[7] It has carried out investigations into local authority data handling, finding more than 1000 incidents in which councils lost information about children and those in care.[8] In a study of spending on CCTV systems, the group found that a total of £321,331,453.18 was spent on installing and operating CCTV cameras between 2007 and 2010.[9] In November 2009, the group offered legal support to a woman who had been issued a fixed penalty notice of £75 for feeding ducks by Sandwell Council, after she refused to pay the fine. The case was reported in the media and several days later the council apologised to Miss Kelly and withdrew the charge.[10]

Associated PeopleEdit


  1. ^ Ashford, Warwick (November 14, 2014). "Big Brother Watch calls for better NHS data security in light of losses". Computer Weekly. Civil liberties pressure group Big Brother Watch has called for .... 
  2. ^ "About". Big Brother Watch. Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Contact". Big Brother Watch. Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  4. ^ David Davis - and Tony Benn - speak at the launch of Big Brother Watch (registration required)
  5. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help);
  6. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help);
  7. ^ Pickles, Nick (January 19, 2012). "Internet regulation could become McCarthy witch hunt". Archived from the original on June 5, 2013. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Chaytor, Rod (November 13, 2009). "Mum is fined £75 for feeding ducks". Daily Mirror. London. (registration required)
  11. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help);

External linksEdit