What is the price of feeling protected? It is a question we often underestimate. Yet, defense against international terrorism and crime cannot be guaranteed without common sacrifice. “We must get used to give up a little on our privacy,” said Italian interior minister Angelino Alfano, after the massacres in Paris of November 13, 2015. And that was the case. Our life goes on, unaware, under thousands of eyes, ready to grasp every gesture, word, or message that can help law enforcement and intelligence services in their defense activities for the sake of civil society.
Yet, the right to privacy is “universal”, as the Guarantor, Antonello Soro, pointed out while presenting the Annual Report to the Parliament on handling personal data. Thus, we need to balance things, so that in a sensitive area such as this, the costs do not outweigh benefits. If this were the case, the whole question might have been solved with a slap to our intimacy.
The Soro examination has brought to light all of our vulnerabilities. The target is the reaction to the terrorist threat, which “must be effective, yet respectful of the rights and fundamental freedoms”, because “not all of the limitations of freedom are actually useful to prevent terrorism or serious crimes”. Enhanced investigation techniques are welcome, but they need to be used “in the most useful way in terms of prevention and be more sustainable from a democratic point of view, keeping in mind what is the degree of freedom, which can be waived without becoming slaves of terror and without abdicating all your rights in the name of the emergency logic”.
Certainly, all cybercrime has emergency connotations, a “real threat”, with a weight on the world economy estimated at 500 billion euros per year, slightly below drug trafficking in the ranking of ill-gotten gains. In 2015, in Italy cybercrimes have increased by 30%, especially in the business sector. Hence, the “insensitivity” of many companies on the question of “protection of their information assets” is “inexplicable,” has warned Soro.
The Guarantor has also criticized the media, asking for “more responsibility” against the “risk of informative aggressiveness” and “sensationalism”. Besides, people’s right to see the online newspaper archives. The question of cybersecurity – the Guarantor’s report continues – has become particularly important in 2015: reports concerning banks’ databases violations have almost doubled. Still on the subject of data breach, anticipating the new European regulations, the Guarantor adopted a provision that requires public administration to communicate cases of violations or suffered cyber incidents. Besides, measures for raising the levels of data protection in the interchanges of Internet data (IXP) were prescribed. As to the equally delicate area of e-health, to ensure greater protection to patients’ data, the Guarantor adopted the Guidelines on the health profile. Still in the health sector, he has given indications concerning disease registries, newborns’ screening, and on security measures for the new centralized information system.
Security, economy, and health. As we have seen, privacy is an area that concerns every aspect of our lives. And as such, it should be protected. Also to prevent those who spread hatred and fear to deprive us of the most important faculties: to live freely.