Italy's data privacy watchdog said Google Inc had agreed to it conducting inspections at its Californian headquarters, the first time a European Union regulator will make checks on the company inside U.S. territory.
Friday's announcement represents the latest privacy challenge for the company in the EU and underscores the willingness of the 28-member bloc to ensure its citizens' data are treated according to EU law, even when held in foreign jurisdictions.
Google has been under investigation by several EU data protection authorities (DPAs) since it consolidated some 70 existing privacy policies into one in March 2012, combining data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+.
The Italian government is pushing to speed up the roll-out of ultrafast broadband networks to help its ailing economy, fuelling speculation it could force incumbent Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) into a costly overhaul of its existing infrastructure.
The cabinet of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi meets on Tuesday to approve an 6 billion euro ($6.7 billion) plan to build a nationwide fiber optic network by replacing the aging copper wires that run into subscribers' homes.
The Italian government approved a plan on Tuesday to bring its high-speed broadband network into line with European Union targets, but it held back from forcing operators to replace their copper-wire networks with fiber-optic cable.
The public online consultation on the draft “Dichiarazione dei diritti in Internet” (Declaration of Rights on the Internet) proposal ended on 31 March 2015. The text was drafted by a special Commission of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and it was initially scheduled to last until the end of February, however the consultation was extended for one more month. Approximately 14.000 visits were recorded, with a total of about 600 comments and proposals for integration. All comments are available here.
Along with the online consultation, auditions with different stakeholders (private, public and non profit organizations) took place. Among the issues discussed during the auditions one can mention: freedom of expression; the relationship between the protection of rights offline and online; Internet as a common good; the authors’ rights and IPR protection; the right to Internet access for all; net neutrality; the right to be forgotten, etc.
The Declaration has also been discussed during various public events in February and March, including the Social Media Week in Milan (February 23-27), the Biennale della Democrazia held in Turin (March 25-29,). The reasons for the low level of participation in the public consultation and the need to produce such Declaration have also been debated. The Commission will draft a summary document containing the proposals and suggestions received by the public consultation and during the auditions; a further and improved version of the Declaration will be drafted. The final version of the Declaration might be the content of a motion of the Parliament to the Government.
A new piece of legislation (Decreto Legge 18 February 2015 no.7) concerning urgent measures against terrorism and for International missions of peace-keeping and participation building was approved by both Italian Chambers of representatives. The new text changes the previous legislation against terrorism. The new norms consider equal those who perform activities leading to a terrorist act with those who conduct the act. The text contains also norms against the use of the web for supporting terrorism and foreign fighters. It allows to carry out preventive interceptions to counteract terrorism, using special software and technologies and availing of the possibilities to obtain data and documents from foreign bodies. It foresees also the possibility to close websites disseminating pro-terrorism information and request the Police to constantly update the websites black lists. The new norms also extended the duration of retention of data on telephonic and communication traffic (in contrast with the new EU sentence on data retention). The itinerary of the approval of the new norms has been followed by comments and remarks by politicians, lawyers and scholars.
On June 2, 2015 entered into force the general resolution of the Italian Data Protection Authority (DPA) No. 229/2014, "Simplified arrangements to provide information and obtain consent regarding cookies", of May 2014. Due to interpretative uncertainty, on June 5, the Italian DPA, issued a set of clarifications concerning the correct interpretation and the relevant implementation of the provisions provided. Although the DPA has tried to follow a transparent and open approach in adopting cookies rules, according to some there are significant difficulties in understanding the technical language used in the resolution and in the clarifications. As consequence, the requirements about the consent mechanism appear hard to be implemented in practice, especially by SMEs and bloggers.