Italy: Big Brother Awards 2006

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The Italian Big Brother Awards for 2006 were awarded during a ceremony in Florence on 20 May 2006 which focused on issues such as the defence of intellectual property rights and the expanding role of Trusted Computing technology, which is developing functions that are deemed to be suited for "the creation of a platform for pervasive technological control". The winners of awards for undermining privacy were: Enzo Mazza from the Federazione dell'Industria Musicale Italiana (Italian music industry federation), for his role in pushing for ISPs to be obliged to become "sheriffs of the web" to defend intellectual property rights, obliging them to erase or prevent access to illegal contents, to inform the authorities about these, and making them responsible for illegal contents made available using their services.

The winner of the "lifetime menace" award was Mauro Masi from the PM's office, for calling an end to the work of the commission on authors' rights which was contemplating introducing a distinction between serious and minor offences, so as to prevent criminal proceedings being adopted against the latter. The awards for "most invasive technology" and "worst private company" went to Trusted Computing and the Trusted Computing Group (TCG), with specific reference made to "remote attestation" functions, and to the expansion of this technology as a "Little Brother that is among us and growing quickly", and TCG criticised for its "relentless activity for the establisment of a model of pervasive techno-control aimed at the creation of DRM systems that cannot be attacked".

The positive "Winston Smith - heroes of privacy" award went to the "No 1984" campaign, for its work to spread information about about the dangers and control purposes of the Trusted Computing platform. Finally, the Italian data protection ombudsman's authority was also handed an award ("worst public body") for accepting new powers that it was granted to enter private households to investigate data protection or privacy breaches without a prior judicial warrant, or outside of the framework of criminal investigations. The decision concerning this award was justified on the basis that, in spite of more serious breaches having been committed by other public bodies, the new powers allow "fishing expeditions" in private homes and are in direct opposition to the ombudsman office's role in defence of privacy, conditions that "amplify" their relevance.

Big Brother Awards 2006. Full account available (in Italian) at:

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