Bulgarian Big Brother Award for Interior Affairs
In Bulgaria, a Big Brother Award was awarded to the Ministry of Interior Affairs for the double achievement of a proposal to wiretap all internet traffic and the censorship of a satirical homepage.
The draft new Telecommunications Law would have obliged internet service providers to buy wiretapping equipment that would have given police live access to all data traffic going through the networks of the providers. The proposal was stopped just in time and sent back to several parliamentary committees.
In September 2001, the National Unit for Combating Organized Crime traced down and confiscated the computer of the 26-year old individual Lubomir Kolev. His ‘crime’ was that he published a website under the name of a Bulgarian bank, where he made mockery of the election promise of the prime minister to give a rent-free loan of 5000 Leva (EUR 2.500) to every Bulgarian citizen.
The Ministry explained the take-down because ‘in the web site a picture of the prime minister Mr. Simeon Sax-Coburg-Gota was published, with which Lubomir K. has lowered not only the image of the bank, but also of the official Bulgarian institutions’. Many people joked ‘We didn’t know that publishing a picture of the prime minister could ruin the image of Bulgarian institutions or banks’.
Though never charged for the satire, Kolev recently received a fine of EUR 1.000 for having illegal software on the confiscated computer. To obtain the report, send an e-mail to
Explanation of the Interior Ministry
(Contribution by Veni Markovski, GIPI Bulgaria)