Italy's Chamber of Deputies has proposed a 'Draft Declaration of Internet Rights'
(Declaration), acknowledging both the way in which the internet has
changed interactions and the way it has erased borders, but also
noting that the EU's protection of personal data is a necessary
reference for governing operation of the internet. The Declaration
is now open to public consultation until 27 February
The aim of the Declaration is to establish some general
principles to be implemented by national legislation. It consists
of a preamble and 14 articles covering topics including the
fundamental right to internet access, net neutrality and right to
In particular, there is strong emphasis on the protection of the
individual from widespread monitoring. Article 9 of the
Declaration, for example, states that restrictions on anonymous
communications "may be imposed only when based on the need
to safeguard the public interest and are necessary, proportionate,
and grounded in law and in accordance with the basic principles of
a democratic society."
The Declaration has received a mixed response, including from
Italy's Data Protection Commissioner, who expressed some
concern about the rights to be anonymous and to be forgotten
(Articles 9 and 10). A particular concern raised about the right to
be forgotten, relates to increasing the scope of the right to
permit court appeals of decisions relating to search engine
de-listings where there is a public interest in preserving the
information, which in principle sounds like a promotion of freedom
of speech, but could have the opposite effect by focusing undue
attention on individual requesting de-listing.
As a Declaration it will not become binding even after being
finalised after the public consultation period; however, it will
form a statement of principles on internet governance and the
rights of individuals.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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