Italian netizens get ready to face the music in the form of new Italian data retention law. It means the Italian internet service providers (ISPs) and telecommunication companies will store the logs of users’ electronic communication data for six years. The Italian government has ordered ISPs and telecommunication organizations to make necessary structural changes to implement data retention laws.
Italy is following the footsteps of China and Russia since both these countries have already applied strict online restrictions. The latest initiative of Italian government is violating the users’ online privacy and security a great deal. According to the data retention laws, ISPs and telecommunication companies can store the personal information of the users.
— Corinne Podger ?? (@corinne_podger) April 9, 2016
Considering the impacts of Italian data retention laws, we have developed a comprehensive guide that will enable you to tackle the privacy issues. Still, you can cope up with the challenge of Italian data retention laws by a VPN. However, the organizations working for users’ online rights improvement have termed the recent development as the “Shadow of mass surveillance”.
What is Italian Data Retention Law
The Italian Senate has currently passed the data retention laws with new amendments. According to these new amendments, ISPs and telecommunication organization can retain the data of internet users for six years. In addition, there has been a new monitoring clause added in the prevailing data retention laws. The new monitoring clause has been termed as “web monitoring for copyright compliance”.
As per the implications of this recent amendment, the Italian Authority for Communications Guarantees (AGCOM) can block the websites. Moreover, the authority does not need any sort of judicial oversight before blocking the websites. As a result, the ISPs and search engines can ban websites for indefinite time over copyright cases.
The other amendment is section 132 of the Italian Data Protection Code that applies the following data retention periods. These are:
• Twenty-four months or two years for telephone traffic data
• Twelve months or one year for electronic communications traffic data
• Thirty days or one month for the data related to unsuccessful calls that are processed on a provisional basis by the providers of publicly available electronic communications services or a public communications network
However, the court of Justice of the European Union has clearly stated the extraordinarily long mandatory data retention period as unfair and illegal. The court has given clear verdict that blanket data retention laws are unethical and unconstitutional. However, a country like Italy has applied data retention laws in true letter and spirit.
The government can take stern actions against those users who are involved in illegal activities like cybercrimes. In addition, the authorities are allowed to keep an eye on the users those who deliberately download pirated content. Thus, the law enforcement agencies have full rights to access your personal information.
Impacts of Italian Data Retention Laws on Users’ Privacy
The prevailing situation of Italian netizens does not look quite encouraging. In fact, the future of internet users in Italy is on the verge of uncertainty. Here is the list of some impacts you may face in Italy in the form of data retention laws in near future. These are:
- The telecommunication authorities can keep the record of your phone calls
- Likewise, the ISPs will store the email addresses of the users
- The ISPs will monitor all your online activities that include downloading content from the internet and visiting websites
- The ISPs will also be responsible for maintaining the log of the users’ IP addresses
What Does Metadata look like
After the implementation of Italian data retention laws, the below mentioned information may be assumed as your metadata. The following information includes:
- Your name and address
- Recipients of your communication
- All the details of emails
- Date and timestamp of any communication through social media, messaging apps, email, mobile, and so on
- Location of your internet connected devices
How A VPN helps you to Bypass Metadata Retention
When it comes to getting around the metadata retention laws, nothing comes close to the VPN. This is because a best VPN allows you to hide your online identities from the eyes of your ISPs and telecommunication authorities. Moreover, it offers you a virtual mask that helps you to attain online anonymity and security.
Through connecting to a metadata retention VPN, you are able to spoof your online location. As a result, your ISPs and government are unable to track down your online activities. Thus, they cannot keep an eye on your metadata.
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Avoid using a VPN that has Headquarter based in Italy
It takes lot of efforts and mental hassle to select an appropriate VPN service that offers a list of compelling features. There are different factors you should take into account before selecting an appropriate VPN service that fulfills your online needs. However, you should not undermine the importance of origin within which a VPN service operates.
If your VPN service is based at Italy, you will not be able to secure your metadata. This is because your VPN provider has to abide by the Italian retention laws. Thus, it does not make any difference if you use a VPN in Italy or not. The Italian users should not lose all their hopes since they can select the VPN services that operate from user-friendly countries. It means these countries do not follow such regulations that violate the users’ online rights.
Other Approaches you can use to avoid Italian Data Retention
Fortunately, you are living in the digital era where tools other than a VPN are at your disposal. After using these online tools, you can circumvent the issue of metadata retention to the next level. These are:
- Script Blockers
- Ad Blockers
- HTTPS Everywhere
By applying the notion of Tor, you turn out to be anonymous because it bounces your internet traffic through different nodes. Hence, it becomes impossible for your ISP to track down your online identity.
Through script blockers, you do not allow the web services to collect your browsing information.
Ad blockers are the browser extensions that allow you to block annoying ads when you visit websites.
When it comes to encrypting phone calls and text messages, the users should this amazing iOS and Android app.
Through PGP, you can secure all the details of your emails. There are different email services that offer end-to-end email encryption. Therefore, you should opt those email services that protect your email content to the next level.
HTTPS Everywhere is an add-on by which you are able to secure your online privacy hassle-free. HTTPS is hypertext transfer protocol that distinguishes between the secure website and insecure website.
To cut things short, you should not compromise on your online privacy at any cost. From the methods given above, you will be able to negotiate the metadata retention rule in the affirmative direction. According to the new Italian metadata retention law, ISPs and telecommunication organizations can retain the data of their users for six years.
It means you are bound to use a VPN and other approaches to secure your online privacy within Italy. The concept of online surveillance is relatively new for the Italian netizens but it has caused much panic among the users. If you are not ready for it then be prepared to pay the price. Otherwise, you may face the music in the form of arrest warrants, copyright infringement violations and other legal troubles.
Do share your feedback about the latest advancement in terms of data retention laws in the comments section below.