Italians' privacy at risk, watchdog tells parliament

'New provision needed to prevent undue disclosure'

Italians' privacy at risk, watchdog tells parliament

Rome, June 11 - Italy's privacy watchdog told the House Tuesday that citizens' privacy was at risk and announced that a "general provision" on information gathering will be adopted in the weeks ahead as a safeguard. Commenting on his first annual report to parliament, Antonello Soro said the provision would aim "to indicate appropriate solutions to elevate the standard of data-protection treaties and to prevent undue disclosure". His statements came on the heels of confirmed leaks that the US National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans and scouring the Internet use of foreigners with the aim of fighting terrorist attacks. Soro rejected the model adopted in the US and called for tougher safeguards in the European Union. But he added that data surveillance is a "fundamental and irreplaceable investigative resource that must be managed with caution". He added that information leaks must also be avoided. "In addition to damaging investigations, they risk violating the dignity of the interested parties," he said, warning against resulting "transcription journalism" that ultimately produces low-quality information. "In the age of non-stop online access, there is a myth that absolute transparency eliminates every opacity," he said. "Total transparency, instead, does not equal truth and protecting information does not always mean someone is hiding something unsavoury. It's a fundamental requirement of politics just as it is in private lives".

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