This is the interview Giusella Finocchiaro gave to Vanity Fair and which was published in issue 39/2016 of the weekly.
What laws do we have to protect us?
«Quite a few. Both of these recent incidents, for example, contain a series of civil offences that range from the violation of privacy legislation to the violation of a person’s fundamental rights. There are a number of possible offences that could be brought before a criminal court such as instigation to commit suicide, unlawful interference in a person’s private life and the handling of child-pornography material».
Who to press charges against? And how effective is it?
«Those to take action against are the authors, those who put the videos online. Then, naturally, action may also be taken against service providers, namely those companies which provide access to the Net, but only on certain conditions: they’re under no obligation to monitor in advance what’s made available online, nonetheless they’re legally required to remove contents if there’s provision to do so on the part of the judicial authority or of any other competent authority».
But can everything be blocked and for always?
«The possibility can’t be ruled out that the video has been downloaded by other users and that it keeps on circulating. Of course these other users are committing a crime as well. In practice, it’s a constant game of catch-up: in the digital dimension it’s extremely easy to even reproduce multiple copies of a message».
Should providers be given more responsibilities?
«Certainly, but not with a control system, because it’s very laborious. A mechanism to allow users to contact providers would be useful, because in this way, when they received a complaint, providers could verify and remove contents in a very short space of time».
What advice would you give to make good use of the Net?
« Never forget that when you access the Net you leave a strictly private dimension and you enter a very public one».
One of the first 2011 year-end considerations to attract a certain interest on the Internet is that regarding the increase of online identity thefts in Italy.
In fact, in 2011 many Italian public figures have found their names associated with social networking profiles managed by unknown parties. Among the latest to be affected is the new Minister for Economic Development Corrado Passera who had a tweet attributed to him after the new economic measures had been passed, that was later revealed to come from a fake account.
But not only well-known personalities are hit by identity thieves. In an interview with the Adnkronos agency, Sabrina Castelluzzo, the person in charge of the computer crimes section of the Postal and Communications Police Service said that of the crimes committed online in Italy, identity theft is the most frequent. “This year alone we have received 2,900 complaints regarding this crime all over Italy,” explained Ms. Castelluzzo “and 1,400 have been fielded by other police departments. The investigations have enabled us to press charges of Identity Theft against 198 people, while at least 2,600 checks have been carried out on the Internet. “
According to Ms. Castelluzzo identity theft is an especially widespread crime as it is often a “crime vehicle” which comes in useful when committing more serious crimes such as misuse of credit cards or bank accounts through credentials extorted by means of phishing. However, with regard to the creation of fake profiles on social networks, identity theft is often linked to crimes such as defamation and stalking.