Italy to ban on-line anonimyty?

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?

Only a journalist can run a website in Italy?

On May, 8 2008 the Court of Modica (Sicily) ruled that a website identified by a “heading” and publishing contents on a periodic basis is subjected to the regulation of newspapers or magazines and – in general – or in  press.

The result is that an anti-mafia webmaster has been indicted for committing the crime of “clandestine publication” because he didn’t request the Tribunal’s authorisation to publish his site www.accadeinsicilia.net.

The “Catch 22” comes because to obtain this authorisation, this webmaster should have been a journalist, member of the national journalist association or the permit wouldn’t be granted. Then, nobody but a journalist can run a website, because nobody but a journalist can obtain the Court registration.

The legal paradox is a consequence of the fact that, before the internet came, publisihing a newspaper meant investing huge money in equipment, people, distribution etc. Thus it was easy for  “power” to control the press with a series of adminstrative burdens. Now, with the free availability of content management system like WordPress, and the low cost of internet-based services,  publishing a magazine is absolutely affordable. So the “power” – namely, Law 62/01 – tried in a very messy way to reassert its control over the information flow.

It is simply a nonsense affirm that since a website has a “heading” and publishes daily information, then it is a newspaper. Following this line of reasoning, it is enough – to not infringe the law – to “restrain” from publishing on due dates… Killing free speech starts from here.

Italia.it RIP

Italia.it, the infamous attempt of creating a State-managed one-stop touristic information website is definitely passed away on Jan. 18, 2008. The (now former,since the government just fell down) minister of innovation, Luigi Nicolais, finally decided to shut down the project and the minster of cultural assets, Francesco Rutelli, asked Corte dei conti (a magistrate court acting as “public spending watchdog”) to look for the responsibility for the waste of public money (5.800.000,00 Euros right now, to be precise).

Mr. Rutelli asked Umberto Paolucci – former Microsoft top manager in Italy and Europe – and now head of the ENIT (Italian Governement Tourist Board) to handle the issue.

Will open source technologies be take in consideration for the new super-duper portal?

Do we need an Internet Bill of Rights?

During the Internet Governance Forum Italian meeting (Rome, Sept. 27 07) Stefano Rodotà (former Italian Data Protection Commissioner) and Fiorello Cortiana (former Senate member) strongly supported the need of an “Internet Bill of Rights” (IBR) as tool to protect netizen’s free speech, privacy and other human rights. Is this a good idea?

The answer – as ALCEI pointed out during the same meeting – is no.

Continue reading “Do we need an Internet Bill of Rights?”

“Frattinising” isn’t the only threat

Current Italian government and politicians are leading the war to free-speech. Recently Franco Frattini – EU Commissioner – publicly advocated the need of a filter on words used online, with the usual “terrorism excuse”. Here is the commentary published on the EDRI online magazine written by Giancarlo Livraghi on behalf of ALCEI. Continue reading ““Frattinising” isn’t the only threat”