Greek net.artist Dimitrios Fotiou was held under custody

Posted by Dimitris Skoufis | Sun Feb 27th 2005 1:39 p.m.

Greek net.artist Dimitrios Fotiou was held under custody

According to Greek Mass Media, many important people in Greece --including =
politicians, judges, church and police officers, etc.-- are accused for cor=
ruption. Among other alegations, there are many denouncing them for getting=
paid to do "favours" and to provide several "services" to Greek citizens w=
ithout following the legal procedures. Some of those favours refer to findi=
ng work in the civil service sector and transferring their children from on=
e University to another (the last is illegal in Greece, except in special c=
ircumstances). For someone to find a job in Greece is very tricky, as "CV =
format" applications are not assessed as they should. Moreover, the huge av=
ailability of highly educated young Greeks (a major part of which are MSc a=
nd PhD holders) has caused job hunting to become very hard.

But here comes the traditional "Greek" solution, having its roots in the ag=
es of Turkish domination, when masters did favors to good slaves. In a very=
similar way, VIPs in Greece (e.g. politicians who are in need of votes), o=
r those who have money to pay, have many opportunities to acquire some bene=
fits not accessible to ordinary mortals.

Dimitrios Fotiou is a sculptor who uses computers and the internet as a med=
ium for his artwork; he has been participating in many online events and ex=
hibitions. Following the practices of Tactical Media, he attempted to make =
a larger Greek audience more familiar whith net.art (since such projects ar=
e not so common in Greece). He has chosen a Greek topic and he used Greek l=
anguage. He created a net.Art website of a virtual company offering all the=
illegal services mentioned above at moderate prices. The company also prov=
ided to its potential "customers" the ability to order its "services" onlin=
e.

His aim was to satirize the political and social situation, as well as conv=
ey a critical comment to all Greeks who are desperately looking for a job i=
n the public sector of Greece. The site's name is DWG | Dirty Works Greece =
and its address is < http://www.dirtyworks-greece.info >. The work was sign=
ed by the artist (bottom right corner there was a link to a disclaimer) and=
also there was a link pointing to his personal website < http://www.fotiou=
.net > where he was explaining the concept of his artwork, and providing ot=
her exambles of similar net.art projects. The site was advertised in mailin=
g lists and, within a two months period, Greeks living all over the planet =
began to post its address and have fun with the site.

Nevertheless, the website is no longer publicly availble.

For many days newspapers were writing for the biggest electronic crime of t=
he century in Greece. Irresponsible journalists who had first discovered th=
e new kind of crime were boasting the "discovery" of a secret company worki=
ng online, while the artist's name was not mentioned at all, not even his e=
xplanations about his project. As a matter of fact, a good crime sells more=
than a funny website in the Mass Media market, but the result of all that =
"campaign" was that Dimitrios Fotiou was arrested by the Greek police and w=
as charged for fraud (a felony under Greek low), as well as for illegally c=
ollecting visitos's private sensitive data. It seems, in fact, that nobody =
even thought to check the site's online "order form", as it was so easy to =
find out that it was completely inactive and that data any visitor could su=
bmit on this website where never leaving the his computer to be stored on a=
server.

Dimitrios Fotiou stayed three days in custody, while there was no computer =
specialist or programmer available to examine the form or even have a look =
at the website's logs. The police has not even asked the hosting provider t=
o find out whether there has ever been in place an active dynamic data proc=
essing page or not. Finally. the Greek judicial authorities have decided to=
let him free, imposing a bail of 3.000 Euros and the obligation to appear =
to police once per month.

Many questions are rising from the above fact for the political and social =
situation in Greece. Were they all unable to examine the website's code or =
was the concept so annoying? Since simple internet users have many times se=
nt e-mails to D. Fotiou to congratulate him for his web project, including =
computer programmers who had easily found that the order form was not activ=
e, how could Greek police oversee this fact? Or maybe the spectacular "Gree=
k" reality was revealed once more, in this case online? Can humour be penal=
ized as a felony? What about intellectual property and human rights? What's=
going on with irresponsible journalism in Greece? While no laws are yet en=
acted to deal wit electronic crime in Greece, how can artists be taken in c=
ustody and asked to cope with a huge bureaucracy consisting of people who a=
re not even computer literate? Does Greece still belongs to Europe when, be=
sides the Olympics showcase, which looked like an nice event in a shop wind=
ow, the situation still remains as it has ever been?

Anna Hatziyannaki
Dimitris Skoufis

ART TOPOS
www.artopos.org
  • Pall Thayer | Sun Feb 27th 2005 2:44 p.m.
    Well I sure hope Mr. Fotiou plans on taking this matter as far as
    possible. Greece is in the European Union so the Greek police are not at
    liberty to make up the rules as they go. OK, perhaps they can somehow
    turn this into fraud, but as a work of art complete with disclaimer, I
    highly doubt that this would withstand any type of scrutiny. As far as
    "illegally collecting visitor's private sensitive data" goes, I would
    think that they would have to prove that he actually has this data
    before they can officially charge him with anything. Obviously, this
    might prove problematic if the site wasn't even capable of collecting
    any actual data. He should be able to get some compensation for the
    three days he was contained. It's in EU law.

    Pall

    Dimitris Skoufis wrote:
    > Greek net.artist Dimitrios Fotiou was held under custody
    >
    > According to Greek Mass Media, many important people in Greece --including politicians, judges, church and police officers, etc.-- are accused for corruption. Among other alegations, there are many denouncing them for getting paid to do "favours" and to provide several "services" to Greek citizens without following the legal procedures. Some of those favours refer to finding work in the civil service sector and transferring their children from one University to another (the last is illegal in Greece, except in special circumstances). For someone to find a job in Greece is very tricky, as "CV format" applications are not assessed as they should. Moreover, the huge availability of highly educated young Greeks (a major part of which are MSc and PhD holders) has caused job hunting to become very hard.
    >
    > But here comes the traditional "Greek" solution, having its roots in the ages of Turkish domination, when masters did favors to good slaves. In a very similar way, VIPs in Greece (e.g. politicians who are in need of votes), or those who have money to pay, have many opportunities to acquire some benefits not accessible to ordinary mortals.
    >
    > Dimitrios Fotiou is a sculptor who uses computers and the internet as a medium for his artwork; he has been participating in many online events and exhibitions. Following the practices of Tactical Media, he attempted to make a larger Greek audience more familiar whith net.art (since such projects are not so common in Greece). He has chosen a Greek topic and he used Greek language. He created a net.Art website of a virtual company offering all the illegal services mentioned above at moderate prices. The company also provided to its potential "customers" the ability to order its "services" online.
    >
    > His aim was to satirize the political and social situation, as well as convey a critical comment to all Greeks who are desperately looking for a job in the public sector of Greece. The site's name is DWG | Dirty Works Greece and its address is < http://www.dirtyworks-greece.info >. The work was signed by the artist (bottom right corner there was a link to a disclaimer) and also there was a link pointing to his personal website < http://www.fotiou.net > where he was explaining the concept of his artwork, and providing other exambles of similar net.art projects. The site was advertised in mailing lists and, within a two months period, Greeks living all over the planet began to post its address and have fun with the site.
    >
    > Nevertheless, the website is no longer publicly availble.
    >
    > For many days newspapers were writing for the biggest electronic crime of the century in Greece. Irresponsible journalists who had first discovered the new kind of crime were boasting the "discovery" of a secret company working online, while the artist's name was not mentioned at all, not even his explanations about his project. As a matter of fact, a good crime sells more than a funny website in the Mass Media market, but the result of all that "campaign" was that Dimitrios Fotiou was arrested by the Greek police and was charged for fraud (a felony under Greek low), as well as for illegally collecting visitos's private sensitive data. It seems, in fact, that nobody even thought to check the site's online "order form", as it was so easy to find out that it was completely inactive and that data any visitor could submit on this website where never leaving the his computer to be stored on a server.
    >
    > Dimitrios Fotiou stayed three days in custody, while there was no computer specialist or programmer available to examine the form or even have a look at the website's logs. The police has not even asked the hosting provider to find out whether there has ever been in place an active dynamic data processing page or not. Finally. the Greek judicial authorities have decided to let him free, imposing a bail of 3.000 Euros and the obligation to appear to police once per month.
    >
    > Many questions are rising from the above fact for the political and social situation in Greece. Were they all unable to examine the website's code or was the concept so annoying? Since simple internet users have many times sent e-mails to D. Fotiou to congratulate him for his web project, including computer programmers who had easily found that the order form was not active, how could Greek police oversee this fact? Or maybe the spectacular "Greek" reality was revealed once more, in this case online? Can humour be penalized as a felony? What about intellectual property and human rights? What's going on with irresponsible journalism in Greece? While no laws are yet enacted to deal wit electronic crime in Greece, how can artists be taken in custody and asked to cope with a huge bureaucracy consisting of people who are not even computer literate? Does Greece still belongs to Europe when, besides the Olympics showcase, which looked like an nice event in a shop window, the situa
    tion still remains as it has ever been?
    >
    > Anna Hatziyannaki
    > Dimitris Skoufis
    >
    > ART TOPOS
    > www.artopos.org
    >
    >
    >

    --
    _______________________________
    Pall Thayer
    artist/teacher
    http://www.this.is/pallit
    http://pallit.lhi.is/panse

    Lorna
    http://www.this.is/lorna
    _______________________________
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