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Tell HN: IT security expert Dancho Danchev is placed in a psychiatric hospital
64 points by EastSmith 1500 days ago | comments
According to bulgarian newspaper Dnevnik (http://www.dnevnik.bg/tehnologii/2011/01/17/1026425_ekspertut_po_it_sigurnost_dancho_danchev_e_nastanen_v/) IT security expert Dancho Danchev is placed in a psychiatric hospital.

Dancho Danchev, an expert on cybersecurity, is placed in a psychiatric hospital in Bulgaria. The information was confirmed by two sources of "Dnevnik", although from the hospital refused comment.

[...]

[...] according to reliable source of Dnevnik he was placed in a Bulgarian psychiatric hospital since December 11.

Here is complete Google Translate version of the article: http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=bg&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dnevnik.bg%2Ftehnologii%2F2011%2F01%2F17%2F1026425_ekspertut_po_it_sigurnost_dancho_danchev_e_nastanen_v%2F

(Edited couple of times to fix links, then read the help on links: "Urls become links, except in the text field of a submission.")




This is, of course, one of the old Soviet techniques dealing with "undesirables"...declare them insane and put them away in mental institutions.

Obviously without any details it's possible that he does have mental problems.

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Just because the soviet union did something doesn't mean that's what's happening here. Look at the facts...

1. Mr. Danchev took pictures to "prove" his apartment was bugged (http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/we-need-help-with-the-str...) yet the pictures prove no such thing (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2106735)

Some have speculated the two cables underneath MIGHT power a bug but I consider that unlikely since it's much easier to get power from inside the wall. Regardless it's not proof of any kind.

2. Mr. Danchev hadn't really published anything damaging to the Bulgarian government (see his writings here: http://ddanchev.blogspot.com/). Why try to discredit someone who hasn't said anything to discredit yet?

3. If the Bulgarian government was trying to discredit him for some reason why wasn't his commitment more widely publicized? If you read the original post you'll see ZDNet spent months trying to find what happened to him before posting this and even now the hospital won't confirm he's there for confidentiality reasons

4. If you look at his LinkedIn profile (http://nl.linkedin.com/in/danchodanchev) you'll see he's about 26 years old. If you look into Paranoid Schizophrenia you'll see the average onset is age 15-25 (http://www.schizophrenia.com/szfacts.htm)

So lets not jump to unfounded conclusions here.

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re #2: Just because someone has not yet published anything damaging does not mean they don't have damaging information that could be published at anytime. It is not unreasonable that parties at risk of being damaged could preemptive actions to discredit.

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Fair Point.

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I thought of number 4 also. Had a friend come down with paranoid Schizophrenia at just this age.

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But we are not talking about the Cold war era Soviet block. Bulgaria is an EU member and I'd like to believe that in the EU sane people cannot be thrown in the loony bin for political reasons.

Based on this and his barely coherent ramblings in the published email of his, I'd say he does indeed have some sort of mental problem.

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I'm not sure if you know, but Bulgaria is in Balkans. And sane people are thrown in the loony bin (or just killed) if they talk too much.

Bulgaria is considered the most corrupt country in the 27-member European Union. For example, just recently, Asen Drumev, former head of the State Agricultural Fund, was sentenced to four years in prison for embezzling $34 million worth of EU assistance (and as far I know he was just a sacrifice lamb). And crime journalist Bobbie Tsankov was killed "execution syle" last June.

Of course, Bulgaria pledged to work harder at "combating high-level corruption and organised crime" in response to renewed criticism from the European Commission (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/01d19cdc-942a-11df-a3fe-00144feab4...).

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I'm bulgarian, living in US since 1999. I've been couple of times back, trying to keep on the news... and the recent scandal involving our premier just saddens me.

The transition from "kind-of communist/socialist (actually totalitarian)" regime to full blown democracy, reminds me a bit of situation where you would put electrical engineer with no software practice to be software engineer.

In results, we have a buggy country, with lots of hacks, "fixes", and it leaks everywhere, but you can't debug it well.

Real example - the money for Sofia -> Burgas freeway (~400km long) disappeared, only 1/3 (1/4?) got finished.... Not the only case where money had went south in my dear old country.

So I'm here, waiting for Bulgaria 2.0 to happen, and would go back once the people are ready for change.

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"I'm not sure if you know, but Bulgaria is in Balkans". Mexico is in North America. What is your point?

BTW, Mr. Bobbie Tsankov was a convicted conman that loved to brag about how well connected he is with the underground and this is a fact. He just happend to have a radio talk (not news) show. Saying that he was a "crime journalist" is like saying that Lucky Luciano was running a security company.

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Keep believing that.

If he truly has a mental problem, then let him move to a mental hospital in a country of his choosing.

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I'm sorry, but you misunderstand healthcare in EU memberstates, it's not like you can just move around from one country to another to get healthcare at the level you want it, the default is that citizens go to clinics in their respective member states unless a particular expertise is not available or you happen to be visiting a memberstate when you get ill.

When you're a resident for instance or holidaying you get some choice in the matter because of your location but if I were to get ill tomorrow I could not 'move to a hospital in a country of my choosing' and the same goes for mental hospitals.

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In most EU countries people can be placed in a psychiatric facility against their will if they are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. Paranoid schizophrenics are probably the most well known group who are likely to end up involuntarily committed, but there are plenty of others.

Once you have been committed against your will, you have to convince either a psychiatrist or a medical tribunal that you are no longer a public health risk. You are not free to just move to another facility or country.

Not saying that's what happened in this case, but the wording of the OP title, and from reading the translated article, it seems quite possible.

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Why is it so hard to believe he needs help? Psychosis is not rare, and today's medicine does miracles - you can still have a perfectly normal life. The hardest part is for the patient to accept his condition.

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For others who did not see the article from ZDNet earlier, asking for help finding Danchev: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/we-need-help-with-the-str...

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A quick google yields a report by human rights group Bulgarian Helsinki on the conditions in Bulgarian Psychiatric Hospitals:

http://www.bghelsinki.org/campaign/abuses_dw.doc

and also a BBC article on the terrible conditions:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2579865.stm

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That article is from 9 years ago, I'd hope that in the meantime the situation has improved a bit, but it would not surprise me if it had not since Bulgaria is still very poor compared to other EU member states.

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Clickable:

http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&h...

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Perhaps it's Google translate missing some words, but who placed him in the hospital? Was in voluntary?

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The article doesn't say who. I'm wondering as well.

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This reminds me of ``A Beautiful Mind'' as well.

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How so? Did Danchev win a Nobel prize for economic sciences?

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No, but that movie/book is likely the closest most people will get to a personal perspective on what a schizophrenic's life is like.

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Tracing the story feels like reading a Robert Ludlum book! I am not surprised to see a movie based on this in the future.

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Why does everything have to be made into entertainment?

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Is that a bad thing? Besides, I suspect the subject in question will never be "entertaining" enough for some.

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I found it tasteless because I remember Dancho from the days when he was just a teenage blogger.

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