Among the measures to fight the economic crisis announced by the Italian Government, sect. 15 para 1 lett. c) of the Anti-Crisis decree deserves a special mention: to put it short, the provision asserts corporate liability (under legislative decree 231/01) ? for copyright infringement committed by top management.
Although it may seems that the new law is of a little impact on corporate life (is highly unlikely that a top manager has time to waste doing file sharing) a second glance prove this first opinion not entirely correct.
The inclusion of copyright infringements into the list of crimes implying specific corporate liability forces a company to revise its (mandatory) prevention model to reflect new changes; thus – de facto – establishing a specific set of controls aimed at downloads, website surfing and file sharing. Failing to do so might lead some zealous prosecutor to think that the company actually allows copyright abuses.
A side effect of this regulation – when it will come into full force – is that workplace privacy will get another heavy blow. For the sake of copyright abuse prevention, indeed, all of employees’ Internet activity will be deeply inspected.
So long, Mr. Data Protection Commissioner…
An Italian Data Protection Authority decision issued on June, 25, 2009 set the deadline of Sept. 30, 2009 for telco operators and ISPs that must notify the Data Protection Authority the list of their mining activities executed on customers’ aggregate data (such as traffic volumes, paths and so on.) The aim of this decision is to spot illegal (at least, under Data Protection Authority opinion) data handling “masked” by activities performed to keep the infrastructure running
The Data Protection Authority, after having received the information, will decide what can be still done without informing the customer, what can be done AFTER having informed the customer and obtained his approval and what cannot be done at all. Furthermore, the Data Protection Authority will release a set of technical and management rules to ensure the concerned subjects’ compliance.
If these new set of rules will mimic those recently established for data-retention purposes and system administrators, telcos and ISPs will face again a mayhem of useless bureaucracy so hard to understand that the Data Protection Authority itself did release a FAQ to explain what these regulation actually meant (and we’re still waiting for the FAQ interpretation.)
Although the decision is limited to the Internet and telephony world, it is clear that in the near future it will affects too energy firms, banks, insurance companies and, in general, everybody who relies upon aggregate data to tweak its supply chain of services.
Once again, the Italian Data Protection Authority is proved to be one of the biggest blocking factor of Italian telco market, while not granting citizens some sort of protection.
A contribution for ALCEI.ORG
There is a disturbing, arising trend in Italy, of former showpersons now MPs of Berlusconi’s party to propose 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.
To be clear:
– Mr. Barbareschi’s Proposal is aimed at create 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 rescrition etc.)
If approved, these (draft) laws will cause the concentration of power in goverrment’s hands, by weakening the possibility (or the right) to defend ourselves in Court.
Another step toward the ethical state?
Law n. 133 passed on Aug. 6, 2008 amends the Italian Data Protection Code and allow conglomerates and multi-national companies to freely exchange personal data, provided that their internal corporate rules system matches Italian Data Protection Regulation.
This is a way to circumvent the strict limits imposed by former regulation, that forbade the exchange of personal data with countries (like United States of America) with a lower level of personal data legal protection.
This is the title of a speech Withfield Diffie gave in Rome at University La Sapienza last Jan. 31 2008, where I have been invited to attend the round table the followed. Other participants were Corrado Giustozzi, Giovanni Manca (CNIPA – National Centre for Information Technology in the Public infrastructures), prof. Luigi Mancini and Luisa Franchina (ISCOM).
There are a few online account for the day but none of them tells about the “content” of the conference. Mr. Diffie’s talk was professional and fascinating – if you don’t belong to the IT security professional’s circle. And this is the point: how is it possible that in 2008 we – Italians – still are so far from moving (even a few) steps ahead from what we were talking in 1995?
“Fighting terrorism” was – as usual – the “leading concern” to advocate defense and civil rights suspension in Italy. And each time I ear some Italian civil servant singing that song I remember about Michael Crichton’s State of fear, whose lesson – creating a state of fear to let powers and lobbies pursue their goals – is largely missed. This is not to say that terrorism is a fake issue. But when security of the State become a political (i.e. partizan) weapon, all we get is neither effective anti-terrorism measures nor freedom protection.
As Benjamin Franklin said,
They that would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety
And this is what we are doing right now.