Italian MPs ask Government to seek clarifications on Prism

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Yesterday some members of the Italian parliament belonging to 5 Stars Movement filed a written question addressed to the Italian government to seek clarification in connection with the data of Italian citizens possibly treated through Prism.

After more than a week from the burst of the scandal Italian government, differently than other governments around the world, is still silent while the Data Protection Authority urged for an intervention towards US’ authorities and civil society organizations, like “Alliance for Internet”, requested clarifications on Prism

Here follows a translation in ENG of the text of the written question (first signatory Ms. Mirella Liuzzi) that would constitute a good chance for Italian Government to clarify its position on the program.

“To the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Internal Affairs.
The following Member of the Italian Parliament [LIUZZI, CATALANO, DE LORENZIS, TONINELLI, COZZOLINO, SCAGLIUSI, NICOLA BIANCHI, DELL'ORCO, SARTI, DEL GROSSO, TACCONI, PAOLO BERNINI, CARINELLI, SPESSOTTO, VIGNAROLI, DIENI, DADONE, BARONI, CECCONI, MUCCI e CASTELLI]

Given that:

- following the revelations appeared on the newspapers The Guardian and the Washington Post last week which informed that the U.S. government through the National Security Agency (NSA) has put in place, starting from November 2007, a project called Prism in order to counter the domestic and international terrorism through a capillary control of the information transmitted on the Internet;

- from the news appeared on the press, that program allowed the NSA and the U.S. government, without prior judicial review, to access to the phone records of the provider Verizon as well as to have direct access to personal information (such as email, video, photo, voice chat , notifications and access to other information) of American and non-American users stored on the servers of the major internet service providers such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple;

- from what appeared on the press it cannot be excluded that this activity has involved the information and personal data of Italian and European citizens who use the services of these providers;

- such activities, if verified, would constitute an infringement of the fundamental rights of Italian citizens, such as privacy and freedom of expression on the Internet;

- the chairman of the Italian Data Protection Authority Mr. Antonello Soro on June 6, 2013 said in a statement that “It is worrisome the action of the National Security Agency that, as it turns out, would have collected the phone records of millions of citizens, probably not just American. Worrying is the fact that there may be intercepted also European citizens, to which the internal disciplines would ensure a level of protection far higher. The defense of democracy always passes through the consolidation of freedom and should not be entrusted to the shortcuts of a generalized surveillance of citizens’ lives. As President Obama himself has repeatedly recognized”;

- on 10 June 2013, the EDPS Chairman Mr.Peter Hustinx has expressed deep concern about the possible negative implications for privacy and other fundamental rights of European citizens resulting from the program Prism, supporting the request of the President of the Article 29 Working Party Mr. Jacob Kohnstamm targeted to the European Commission to seek clarification from the U.S. Government on the occasion of the EU-US summit scheduled for June 14, 2013;

- on June 11 2013, the European Commission has expressed its concern in relation to the massive processing of personal data of EU citizens who would come through the program Prism and announced that will seek clarification to the U.S. authorities as part of the EU-US ministerial meeting scheduled for June 14, 2013

require:

what initiatives the Government intends to take in order to determine whether the activity of control exercised through the Prism program has involved data and information pertaining to Italian citizens and if such activity is compliant with the applicable EU and Italian rules on protection of personal data in compliance with international agreements in force”.

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