On February 18th, 2015 the Italian Government adopted the Law Decree no. 7 concerning urgent measures to contrast terrorism, both national and international. The original decree provided, among the others, for the increase of the penalties in case of training activities aimed to terrorism, incitement to commit crimes against Italy and apology offenses committed through telematic means.
On March 19th some amendments to the abovementioned decree concerning data retention and preventive tapping were approved. From one hand, the term to store the Internet traffic data and the missed calls was increased up to two years (the actual term is, respectively, of one year and one month); from the other hand, preventive tapping and remote computer searches ordered by the authorities also against mere suspected people were admitted.
In such context, Antonello Soro, the President of the Italian Data Protection Authority (the “Garante”), really worried about such amendments because the unavoidable consequence would have been the breach of the balance between privacy and security. In particular, the President stressed the importance to guarantee a proportional relationship between privacy and security taking into consideration the nature of the committed crimes and the means used to commit such crimes. In support of his argument, Mr. Soro recalled the significance of the decision issued by the European Court on April 8th which voided the directive on data retention because of the indiscriminate nature of such measure possibly applicable to anyone without distinguishing neither the crimes nature nor the typology of communications stored [see the announcement of Antonello Soro].
With great appreciation of Mr. Soro [see the announcement of Antonello Soro], the Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, not only proposed and gained the excerpt of the amendments regarding the remote computer searches but also obtained the limitation of preventive tapping only and solely to crimes of terrorism in order to avoid an excessive and unuseful use of invasive instruments that could violate the privacy of people.
In such framework the President of the Garante has showed the necessity for the Parliament and the Government to adopt rules concerning tapping that could reach the public security by combining the truthfulness of information during investigations and the protection of personal data [see the letter from Antonello Soro to Matteo Renzi].