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The Court of Milan's conviction of three Google executives for violating data protection law provoked strong reactions, with many commentators claiming that the legal grounds for the decision threatened the freedom of the Internet. The recent publication of the full text of the decision sheds more light on the case, correcting this view and spelling out the ramifications for the processing of sensitive personal data.
The Court of Milan has convicted three Google executives of violating data protection provisions in connection with a video on the Google Video website showing a disabled boy being bullied. It remains to be seen whether the reasoning seemingly applied by the judge conflicts with data protection law and its requirements in respect of the location of the data controller and the equipment used to process personal data.
The Data Protection Authority has applied a new provision of data protection law in imposing a €54,000 fine on supermarket group GS. The authority found that GS failed to inform customers that personal data collected as part of a loyalty scheme would also be used for profiling and marketing purposes.
In Italy, software is protected by copyright law. The right to the economic exploitation of software may be transferred or conveyed, but such a transfer must be evidenced in writing. However, the written-form requirement does not apply when assigning rights to the creator's employer, the entity that commissioned the software or a software house or development company.
The use of biometric data in Italy has grown rapidly in the past two years across many sectors. However, the use of fingerprint recognition technology in the banking sector for customers and personnel has proved particularly contentious. The Data Protection Authority recently reviewed the use of such systems by a number of banks and has reminded data controllers of their responsibilities.
The appointment of a commission to coordinate e-government and information society policies represents an excellent opportunity to introduce greater IT innovation into local government. The first projects on the commission's agenda include introducing electronic identification cards and providing high-bandwidth services for public workers.