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Italy. Draft bill on cyberbullying could reduce freedom on internet

Changes made 20 September 2016 by the Chamber of Deputies to the original text could allow censorship and severe abuse

Changes made last September 20 by the Chamber of Deputies to a draft law to combat cyberbullying (a draft law that now must be re-examined and voted again by the Italian Senate) move away this bill from the declared mission of more closely and effectively protecting minors harassed on the web. These changes gave birth to the founded concern that the new rules could limit the freedom of expression on the Internet, such as claimed by several opposition lawmakers and some experts. The procedures allow to obtain more easily, and without the due evaluation guarantees, the removal from the web not only of harassing content, but also of the legitimate criticisms that adults do against other adults.

In fact the new rules, which were originally designed to only protect children from harassment, would apply also to the harassment of adults, an issue that is already regulated by criminal law with broader guarantees of fairness. Under the new rules, anyone, be he adult or minor, when he subjectively considers to be molested by a published content on the web, you will ask the provider to remove it. it is ‘likely that your request will be accepted without difficulty by the provider, to prevent the’ Authority for the Protection of Personal Data may order it to him and, in case of refusal, may impose a hefty financial penalty.

A committee of experts set up at the offices of the ministers will establish the rules that the Guarantor will have to apply. The law does not allocate financial resources to set up at the offices of the Guarantor adequate professional staff to cope with new tasks in order to investigate the merits of the requests and establish a comparison between the parties.


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