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Censorship The Media

Italian Draft Wiretapping Law Under Fire 150

Posted by kdawson
from the do-not-press-that-red-button dept.
newsblaze writes "Italy has a draft law on surveillance and eavesdropping that could jeopardize journalists and threaten freedom of expression. The UN doesn't like it and they are calling for the abolition or revision of the bill. Anyone not accredited as a professional journalist could be imprisoned for up to four years for recording a conversation without the consent of the person involved and then publicizing that information. Four years seems a bit draconian, but people should know they are being recorded. Across Italy, journalists and citizens protested against the draft law, and most journalists went on strike (only the newspaper published by the premier's brother was open for business). I couldn't discover what would trigger the maximum penalty. This is similar to a 2007 bill that was stopped — lobbyists never give up!"
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Italian Draft Wiretapping Law Under Fire

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  • by Exitar (809068) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @05:39AM (#32897286)

    Unlikely, since Berlusconi proposed it to avoid further problems to himself and his gang with Italian justice.

  • I'm Italian (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @05:49AM (#32897338)

    and I can assure you that this draconian law is not a coincidence, considering the increasing number of corruption lawsuits involving the prime minister, his ministers and his close men. A significative part of the law makes it very difficult for detectives and judges to allow wiretapping of a possible criminal, and when it is allowed it is limited to 75 days for telephone tapping, and 3 days for surveillance. Furthermore the law is retroactive, so, in any pending process, any wiretap that lasted more than 75 days is discarded.
    In Italy we call it "legge bavaglio", meaning gag law I guess.

  • by denzacar (181829) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @06:41AM (#32897590) Journal

    Being that your mind is NOT an objective recording medium, any statement you would make based on that "recording" would be labeled as everything from a "your version of the story", through "pure fantasy" to "slandering lies".

    At best, you would be considered an "unreliable source" - at worst you would be put on trial for defamation. [osce.org]

    And in Soviet Italy, that could result in one of the following:

    6. Maximum prison term for defamation, libel and insult envisaged in the Criminal Code

    Generic insult: not more than six months imprisonment.
    Insult with attribution of a certain fact: not more than one year imprisonment.
    Generic defamation: not more than one year imprisonment.
    Defamation with attribution of a certain fact: not more than two years imprisonment.
    Libel through the press, television or other public means: not more than three years imprisonment.
    Libel through the press with attribution of a certain fact: not more than six years imprisonment.

    7. Maximum fine for defamation, libel and insult envisaged in the Criminal Code
    Generic insult: not more than 516.
    Insult with attribution of a certain fact: not more than 1,032.
    Generic defamation: not more than 1,032.
    Defamation with attribution of a certain fact: not more than 2,065.
    Libel through the press, television or other public means: minimum fine: 516 (no maximum amount is indicated).
    Libel through the press with attribution of a certain fact: minimum fine: 516 (no maximum amount is indicated).

  • Re:Silvio Berlusconi (Score:2, Informative)

    by hao3 (1182447) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @06:58AM (#32897696)

    Opposing the government is bad?

    Just a few of the countless allegations Berlusconi has faced would be enough to cause someone to resign in most other developed countries, never mind lengthy court cases or 'exonerations'. Sadly, Italy is on the lower end of the scale for the first world when it comes to corruption and transparency.

    http://www.transparency.org/content/download/47601/761851/CPI+2009+Regional+Highlights+EU+and+Western+Europe_en.pdf [transparency.org]

    Italy gets 4.3, only slightly less corrupt than Bulgaria, Greece and Romania. Greece is the only other Western European Country that's worse, and look where they are now. Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia are all less corrupt than Italy, and they're much less developed. Globally, Namibia, South Africa and Oman are some of the countries with a better ranking than Italy, which ranks 63rd, just above Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. ( http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2009/cpi_2009_table [transparency.org] ).

    Italy comes joint 17th with Brazil on the Bribe Payers Index, again below South Africa and just above India, Mexico, China and Russia. ( http://www.transparency.org/news_room/latest_news/press_releases/2008/bpi_2008_en [transparency.org] )

    http://www.transparency.org/content/download/43788/701097 [transparency.org]

    69% of respondents think the current government's actions to fight corruption are ineffective. Political parties get 4.1 out of 5 as an index of corruption.

    I suppose that's all the opposition left-wing's fault?

  • Re:Silvio Berlusconi (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @07:00AM (#32897710)

    Actually, we have recorded evidence (yes, from wiretapping, the thing that Berlusconi is now trying to stop) showing that, among other things, Berlusconi-appointed staff on the public television delayed the news of electoral results because they weren't favorable to him, and that during the funerals of pope John Paul II they wanted to ensure that the face of Berlusconi was on camera for long enough.

    We also have proof that the Berlusconi-appointed head of the first public news program called immediately Berlusconi to reveal secret information to him about investigations.

    We also have proof that Berlusconi repeatedly called the director of the (supposedly) independent authority for telecommunications to make him stop the only few programs in the public service that do not praise him.

    We also have proof that Berlusconi called the director of the fiction program of the public service, asking him to hire some actresses to corrupt some opposing members of the parliament to make them join his side. The director called him "boss" (and praised him in a completely servile fashion) even tough Berlusconi at the moment could not be in any way his boss (because he was at the opposition at the moment, because the public service is supposed to be independent, and especially because the public service should be a *competitor* to Berlusconi's private TV channels).

    Need more evidence? I can go on until tomorrow. If only that was useful.

  • by Toy G (533867) <toyg&libero,it> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @07:01AM (#32897716) Homepage Journal

    First: even "the newspaper of the brother's premier" has voiced concerns over the law - the decision not to go on strike was a move by its chief, Vittorio Feltri

    Feltri is known for never, ever allowing strikes. Even when his workforce goes on strike (which happened a few times) he still prints the paper. He's just a scab.

    It was not the only newspaper who didn't go on strike. Others, such as "Libero", "Il Foglio", "Italia Oggi"

    All papers supporting the government. "Libero" is controlled by one of the political parties in government.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @07:48AM (#32897956)

    You're not informed. This law *does* limit wiretapping per se, except for "Mafia and terrorism", and even in those cases it harms it severely. That's why all judges are against it. Just one example: if you're wiretapping somebody for theft, and while doing that you hear that he killed a person, then that recording can't be used as evidence for the homicide! That's foolish, who could benefit from this besides criminals?

    Also, publishing somebody's private image without his consent is already forbidden in Italy - there's no need to further limit the freedom of speech, which is already quite low there.

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