Telemarketing is once more the focal point of the activity of the Italian Privacy Authority which has recently ruling on the phenomenon of so-called “silent calls”.
These are calls when the recipient has no communication with any other party after lifting the receiver. This phenomenon seems to be quite common to the point that many people have turned to the Italian Authority to report receiving repeated and continuous calls of this type.
It seems that the origin of this mysterious new annoyance for citizens is yet again to be found in telemarketing. Most “silent calls” would in fact appear to be the result of an organizational problem for companies that deal with commercial phone calls. Most of these companies use a system that automatically calls individual users in order to connect them with call centre staff whose job is to promote services and products. Sometimes, however, the automatic system may pass on to the call centre a number of calls which is higher than the actual number of operators available at that moment. So the user’s phone rings, but there is no-one at the other end.
Of course especially if repeated, silent calls may not only cause users annoyance but also alarm, when we also see that a number of citizens have complained to the Authority that they have received such calls up to 10-15 times in succession.
In its ruling which focuses on the case of an energy supply company identified as the party indirectly responsible for “silent calls”, the Italian Authority has determined that companies using automated call system technology will have to exercise precautions to prevent the recurrence of such calls and to eliminate the ability to call the same number repeatedly within a period of 30 days.
Should they fail to comply with the prescribed measures companies will face administrative penalties ranging from €30 thousand to €120 thousand.
The news of the nurse affected by tuberculosis which was widely reported in all the Italian media has attracted the attention of the Italian Authority for the Protection of Personal Data, which has opened an inquiry into the case.
In reporting the news it seems that news agencies and daily newspapers, including their online editions, have released enough data for the identity of the woman suspected of infecting several newborn babies in the infants’ ward where she worked to be recognized.Although the surname of the nurse was never published, many papers reported her given name, the first letter of her surname, her age and the fact that she worked in the department of neonatology at the Policlinico Gemelli in Rome.
In its press release announcing the opening of the investigation the Authority reminds that “the right and duty of journalists to inform the public of the developments of a story which is certainly of fundamental importance for public opinion, considering the significant number of infants and families involved, must be weighed against the respect due to the individual, according to the principles established by the code of ethics. “
For this reason, the Authority recommends that all professionals working in the media should “avoid reporting non-essential information which could adversely affect individual privacy while at the same time provoking further states of alarm and concern in those who have used the health services provided by the hospital in question or have in some way contact with the person involved. “
The presentation of the Italian Privacy Authority’s Annual Report in Parliament today has provided much food for thought.
There are many talking points, starting with the title of the Report itself, “Men and data”.
As stated in the report, “Men and data cannot be split up into different worlds. Data are not only the product of men and their ability to communicate and organize, but are now also an essential part of their way of being.” This is particularly evident in the world of “self exposure and global transparency”, especially in that world of social networks. In this context, speaking of the “right to oblivion” runs the daily risk of being perceived as laying unacceptable claim to restricting the right to “know” in all its meanings.”
In his speech the Authority’s President, Francesco Pizzetti raised many new issues such as net neutrality, the obligation to report serious breaches and the need to redefine responsibilities in the area of complex chains of data processing.
Great importance was given to the risks posed by cloud computing, smartphones and tablets, tools which can transform each potential user into an “Electronic Hop-o’-My-Thumb”, who often unconsciously leave the traces of their movements, as they have left their device’s location-based systems turned on.
This year the Authority’s Report also offers two modules on cloud computing and smart phones and tablets, which set out guidelines respectively for responsible use of services and current scenarios and operational prospects.
There is also a certain critical element in the Report regarding the current system of telemarketing and the recent Development Decree (decreto sviluppo).
The Authority recommends putting off unnecessary changes while waiting for the pending redefinition of the European guidelines, which in all likelihood will take the form of a directly binding Regulation. The Authority also hopes that its jurisdiction on making provision for new minimum security measures for the protection of personal data will be recognized. Obviously, given the quality of recent legislative measures, this would be preferable.
- Italian Government’s answer to the dramatic rise in cybercrime
- Italian DPA: reputation rating harms human dignity
- Recognise reliable sources of information as the antidote to “post-truth”
- France: from 2017 the “right to disconnect” comes into force.
- UE: proposed new measures for the protection of private life and personal data in electronic communications as an addition to the privacy regulation
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