Italy: The Anopticon project – putting surveillance back in its place

By EDRi · December 16, 2009

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Deutsch: [Italien: Das Anopticon Projekt – wie Überwachung in seine Schranken gewiesen wird|]

Nowadays, CCTVs are the practical implementation of the “Panopticon”,
theorised in 1791 by Jeremy Bentham as the “ideal prison”, one that
keeps people in place by using their natural fear of being surveilled.

The Anopticon project is a reaction to the huge rise in CCTVs
installations in Italian cities. Information on CCTVs – where they
are, what they point at, which area is being surveilled – is collected
by members of the project and put online, publicly accessible via
the “Big Brother Viewer”. The project has already concluded that a
large part of CCTVs does not provide the “information notice” required
by Legislative Decree 196/2003 (which implements the Data Protection
Directive in Italy).

The project started in Venice, but it soon spread to other cities including
Padova, Foggia, Urbino and Solero (Alessandria). More and
more “anopticon groups” are born, to contribute to the Big Brother
map. Anyone from anywhere can join in.

The Anopticon project has also launched the “Denounce illegal CCTVs”
campaign: every surveillance device that does not respect Italian data
protection law (including the need for an “information notice”) will
be signalled to the Italian Data Protection Authority, without
excluding formal complaints for the more powerful and invasive
surveillance systems such as the “Argos” and “Hydra” systems being
implemented in Venice which are able to automatically track the
movement of boats and people.

The Anopticon project – Big Brother Viewer

(contribution by Epto)