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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 eexaa (1252378) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @05:12AM (#32897170) Homepage

    What if I just remembered the conversation I'd be otherwise (for example) recording on tape?

    Do they cut my brain media off? And send the rest to prison?

  • by orzetto (545509) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @05:37AM (#32897270)

    In case you don't understand what is happening: corrupt government does not want citizens to know about its corruption. Corrupt government(s) already passed laws over the past several years that make it almost impossible to jail anybody for corruption and similar charges, mostly through shortening of statutory terms (that in Italy run also through the trial and its appeals). Corrupt government still looks corrupt because evidence is being published through newspapers, even if corrupt members of government are pretty sure not to go to jail. Corrupt government makes law ("it's for your privacy!") so that journalists still telling the people that the government is corrupt will have to shut up.

    Note: I really, really hate Berlusconi, but this is not only his fault: the "opposition" Democratic Party also want this law (they had it in their electoral program in 2008), because they are just as corrupt, even though they pretend they don't like it to score cheap political points.

    So, here you have it: you can make despotic laws in the name of privacy.

  • Silvio Berlusconi (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hao3 (1182447) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @05:55AM (#32897364)

    lobbyists never give up!

    In this case the lobbyist is the president and his gang of thugs. The voters still love him though, so he stays in power despite countless scandals http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silvio_Berlusconi#Legal_problems [wikipedia.org] ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silvio_Berlusconi#Controversies [wikipedia.org]. Democracy doesn't work so well when people vote on looks and television presence rather than actual issues. Or when one person control vast amounts of the news media.

  • by Toy G (533867) <`toyg' `at' `libero.it'> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @06:55AM (#32897682) Homepage Journal

    The "Legal scandals" ended up with exonerations (more than once), there is not a single case that has been proven in tribunal. Show me a single case that has merit.

    Actually, no. He was convicted for corrupting the judges in the Mondadori case, but saved by the Italian equivalent of the "Statute of Limitations", i.e. after stalling the trial as long as he could, eventually we reached the stage where facts were too old to be considered. Same for illegal party funding in the first All-Iberian case, and illegal funds used to buy a footballer.
    He was also convicted of lying to judges and using illegal funds to buy land, but was saved by generalized amnesty.
    A couple of other trials were nullified by laws he passed (All-Iberian 2, SME-Ariosto 2). He's still awaiting judgement on a trial where his then-lawyer was convicted of corruption, again coming out of All-Iberian.

    It's all on Wikipedia, among other places, but you're probably not interested in facts. Keep voting whatever you want, I've left the country for good, only come back every few years to be a tourist -- lovely food, shame for people constantly complaining about the shit economy and crap society.

  • by rmav (1149097) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @07:03AM (#32897722)

    lobbyists never give up!

    In this case the lobbyist is the president and his gang of thugs. The voters still love him though, so he stays in power despite countless scandals http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silvio_Berlusconi#Legal_problems [wikipedia.org] ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silvio_Berlusconi#Controversies [wikipedia.org]. Democracy doesn't work so well when people vote on looks and television presence rather than actual issues. Or when one person control vast amounts of the news media.

    we vote for berlusconi because there are no alternatives, the commies had their chance a few years ago and their government blew up after less than 2 years because they couldn't agree on anything even if they were allied he might not be the best option ever, but it's the best we have right now

    It is still better an honest incompetent than an outright criminal in charge.

    Roberto

  • by Toy G (533867) <`toyg' `at' `libero.it'> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @07:06AM (#32897754) Homepage Journal

    Check what happened in the two years of the Prodi government before him, and you'll see a good example.

    Yeah, Italy won the FIFA World Cup (after finding out its best football clubs were corrupting referees, including one club owned by a certain Mr. Berlusconi).
    Some people were forced to (gosh!) pay taxes or (damn!) face competition in the market.

    We couldn't allow that to continue, right?

  • by orzetto (545509) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @07:27AM (#32897842)

    in all countries of the world a judge must grant permission to wiretap

    No. Even setting aside despotic regimes, in the US the NSA can wiretap as much as they want. In Italy, on the other hand, wiretapping must be requested by one prosecutor and approved by a judge (who is not the same as in the trial) and there are no legal exceptions to this. Illegal exceptions include Berlusconi's friends in Telecom Italia, who provided him details on the communications of leaders of the opposition parties, which he published in his (brother's) newspaper.

    nobody is allowed to have access to the evidence that is being collected for security of the investigation itself and for privacy of other parties involved

    Neither is in Italy. However, when the investigations are over, all evidence must become public. This is a cardinal principle of civil rights: you cannot have a trial on secret evidence.

    for sure no journalists never publish that on the newspaper before the trial or even the investigations is closed.

    Uh, Monica Lewinsky anyone? Any journalist will, and should, publish anything that is provably true. Doing otherwise is betraying his mission.

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