There is a disturbing trend in Italy. Every now and then, for the most various reasons, a politician feels compelled to propose a bill “regulating” the Internet.
In a previous post I addressed the issues arisen by Cassinelli and D’Alia bills in re: Internet censorship. A few weeks after, more colleagues followed their lead.
Former showpersons – now MPs of Berlusconi’s party – proposes free speech and anonimity regulation “to protect minors” (but fact shows that they’re mostly concerned of copyright.)
Between January and March 2009 Luca Barbareschi (actor) and Gabriella Carlucci (anchor woman), proposed two draft laws whose declared intent was to enforce copyright protection by shutting down civil liberties.
Mr. Barbareschi proposal creates a “single point of cultural control” by granting the Italian State backed royalty collecting agency, the role of exclusive gateway between artists and market. Furthermore, Mr. Barbareschi’s draft law contains so loose statements about ISPs liability that the Government is allowed to do basically whatever he wants.
More dangerous, if possible, is Mrs. Carlucci draft law that wants to ban anonymity from the Net, refusing even to consider intermediate forms such as “protected anonymity” (where the ISP act as trusted third party). Mrs. Carlucci want to establish a committee under the Communication Authority with power of interpreting Internet-related law (in Italy, only magistrates and the Parliament is supposed to), receiving “confidential notice” of infringement, acting as Alternative Dispute Resolution provider, counseling magistrates about the enforcement of preemptive activities ruled under rule of evidence code, like searches and seizure, termporary jail restriction etc.)
Again, on March 19 2009, MP’s Beatrice Lorenzin, Manlio Contento e Enrico Costa (all belonging to Mr. Berlusconi’s party) proposed a bill to filter minor’s access to websites suggesting though weight-loss techniques. Of course this was done to “protect minors”.
On the other (political) side, on March, 27 2009 Vincenzo Vita and Luigi Vimercati (both belonging to the Democratic Party), proposed a bill to respect network neutrality and use open source in public administration. Oddly enough, this proposal comes too late, since both Mr. Vita and Mt. Vimercati ran institutional offices under the centre-left central Government and local administrations. When both Mr. Vita and Mr. Vimercati had the actual chance to do something effective, they did nothing, while their colleagues promoted proprietary software (Mr. Mussi as Minister of university and Mr. Nicolais as Minister of innovation) and severely injured human rights by forcing Italian ISPs to block access to controversial websites, without a court order (Mr. Gentiloni, now Democratic Party, Minister of communication.)