Bits of Freedom

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Bits Of Freedom is an independent Dutch digital rights foundation, which focuses on privacy and communications freedom in the digital age. The foundation protects the right for privacy and the right to communications freedom in the Netherlands. Bits of Freedom started in 2000 and had a break between 2006 and August 2009 due to lack of funding. On August 14, 2009, Bits of Freedom continued its activities with funding provided by the Internet4All Foundation.


Bits of Freedom organizes the Dutch version of the Big Brother Awards, initiated European cooperation between digital rights watch foundations in European Digital Rights (EDRI) and collects information about data leaks in the Netherlands to raise awareness of the potential dangers of increasing collection of data.

The Multatuli Project

The Multatuli Project, subtitled ISP Notice and take down, was the title of an experiment done by members of the Bits of Freedom group in the summer of 2004. [1] [2] The group uploaded excerpts from Multatuli to websites hosted at 10 different Dutch ISPs, content which has been in the public domain since 1957. They then sent a complaint about the content from a Hotmail account posing as a legal advisor to the 10 ISPs; seven of them complied and removed the site, one within just three hours, without investigating the legality of the matter, or asking questions about the dubious background of the requester.

Big Brother Awards

To raise awareness of privacy-related issues, Bits of Freedom holds annual Big Brother Awards. This prize is awarded to businesses, governmental institutions and persons who have harmed privacy or increased civilian surveillance in the past year. The award is named after the character "Big Brother" from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four .

The winners of the Big Brother Awards 2011 [3] were the National Police Services Agency (in the category "governmental institutions") for the use of spyware and hacking of hacking victims, minister Edith Schippers (in the category "people") for forcing a restart of the Dutch Electronic health record, in spite of it not being supported by the Netherlands Senate, Facebook (in the category "business") for going to the stock market without safeguards for user privacy and finally minister Fred Teeven (in the category "popular vote") for further harming privacy legislation.

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  1. (in Dutch) "Notice en takedown" Archived July 7, 2013, at the Wayback Machine (Bits of Freedom archive, February 28, 2005)
  2. "The Multatuli project: research paper" Archived January 15, 2013, at the Wayback Machine , (Sjoera Nas (Bits of Freedom), October 17, 2004)
  3. "Winners of the Dutch Big Brother Awards announced". Big Brother Awards website. Big Brother Awards. Retrieved 27 December 2012.