Garante per la protezione dei dati personali (Italy) - 9759779

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Garante per la protezione dei dati personali (Italy) - 9759779
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Authority: Garante per la protezione dei dati personali (Italy)
Jurisdiction: Italy
Relevant Law: Article 9 GDPR
Article 58(2)(f) GDPR
Article 85 GDPR
Article 137(3) Italian Data Protection Code
Articles 5 and 6 Italian Deontological rules on the processing of personal data in the exercise of journalistic activity
Type: Investigation
Outcome: Violation Found
Started: 31.03.2022
Decided: 01.04.2022
Published: 12.04.2022
Fine: None
Parties: G.O.L. Impresa Sociale S.r.l.
National Case Number/Name: 9759779
European Case Law Identifier: n/a
Appeal: n/a
Original Language(s): Italian
Original Source: Garante per la Protezione dei Dati Personali (in IT)
Initial Contributor: Cesar Manso-Sayao

The Italian DPA ordered a news company to cease any further publication on the contents of messages between a school director and a student which were allegedly involved in a love affair, considering that the dignity and confidentiality of the persons involved outweighed the company's journalistic freedom to report on those details.

English Summary[edit | edit source]

Facts[edit | edit source]

A news company named G.O.L. Impresa Sociale S.r.l. published an article in the newspaper Open Online.it reporting on a news story involving the director of a high school (identified by her first name, last name and a photo) and an 18-year-old high school student (referred to by the initials of his first and last name), following the revelation of a love affair between the two, which is currently being investigated by the competent school offices. The article published excerpts of the messages allegedly exchanged between the director and the student related to details of the personal relations between them, placing a particular focus on the contents of these messages.

The story gained wide public notoriety in Italy, and prompted the Italian DPA (Garante per la Protezione dei Dati Personali – Garante) to launch a preliminary investigation into the protection of the personal data of the persons mentioned in the news story, weighed against considerations regarding freedom of expression and information in the context of the journalistic activity carried out by the news company.

Holding[edit | edit source]

In its analysis of the case, the Garante took into consideration Article 9 GDPR, which establishes that data revealing a person’s sex life are special categories of personal data, and Article 85 GDPR, which establishes that Member States shall by law reconcile the right to the protection of personal data with the right to freedom of expression and information, including processing for journalistic purposes.

The Garante also observed Article 137(3) of the Italian Data Protection Code (hereinafter the Code) which provides that the dissemination or communication of personal data for journalistic purposes can be limited in order to protect the rights mentioned in Article 1 of the Code (human dignity, fundamental rights and freedoms), and according to the essential nature of the information concerning facts of public interest.

The Garante also referred to Articles 5 and 6 of the Italian Deontological rules on the processing of personal data in the exercise of journalistic activity, which establish that when special categories of personal data are collected, including data revealing a person’s sexual sphere, journalists must guarantee that the right to information is based on essential facts of public interest, and that the disclosure of news of major public or social interest must be limited to what is indispensable in order to describe the facts.

The Garante held that the excessive focus on the details described and commented upon, related to the excerpts of the messages between the data subjects, added nothing with regard to the reporting and clarification of the matter, especially taking into consideration that investigations to determine the facts were currently ongoing.

Therefore, pursuant to its powers under Article 58(2)(f) GDPR, the Garante ordered the news company, in its capacity as data controller, to abide by a provisional order to cease any further dissemination of the content of the messages between the student and the director, as a matter of urgency in order to guarantee their confidentiality and dignity.

The Garante also held that the restriction shall take immediate effect as from the date of receipt of the decision, without prejudice to any other decision to be taken upon the outcome of the preliminary investigation into the case. Additionally, the Garante also ordered the news company to communicate what steps it had taken to implement the decision and to provide adequately documented feedback.

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English Machine Translation of the Decision[edit | edit source]

The decision below is a machine translation of the Italian original. Please refer to the Italian original for more details.

SEE ALSO Press release of 2 April 2022

[doc. web n. 9759779]

Provision of 1 April 2022

Record of measures
n. 116 of 1 April 2022



THE GUARANTOR FOR THE PROTECTION OF PERSONAL DATA

GIVEN the Regulation (EU) n. 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016, relating to the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data, as well as the free circulation of such data ("General Data Protection Regulation" - hereinafter, "Regulation "), With particular regard to arts. 4, 9, 85 and 58;

CONSIDERING also the Code regarding the protection of personal data (Legislative Decree 30 June 2003, n. 196, hereinafter the "Code" as amended by Legislative Decree 10 August 2018, n. 101);

GIVEN the "Deontological rules relating to the processing of personal data in the exercise of journalistic activity" (Official Gazette of 4 January 2019, n. 3), hereinafter "Deontological rules";

NOTING that, on March 31, 2022, G.O.L. Social Enterprise S.r.l. published in the newspaper "Open Online.it", an article that updates on a news story that involved the head of a Roman high school - identified with the name and surname and a photo - and an eighteen-year-old high school student, indicated with the initial episodes of name and surname, following the revelation of a sentimental relationship that would have occurred between the two and on which investigations are underway by the competent school offices;

NOTING that the article (https: // ...) has published some excerpts of the messages that the manager and the student would have exchanged that report details of the personal relationships between the interested parties, lingering on the phrases that would have been exchanged;

GIVEN art. 137, paragraph 3, of the Code, which provides that in the event of the dissemination or communication of personal data for journalistic purposes, the limits of the right to press remain in place to protect the rights referred to in Article 1 of the same Code (human dignity, fundamental rights and freedoms of the person) and, in particular, the limitation of the essentiality of information regarding facts of public interest;

CONSIDERING that this principle is recalled, in general terms, also in the Deontological Rules (articles 5 and 6);

CONSIDERING that the details described (and commented on) found in the excerpts of messages reported in the article add nothing regarding the need to clarify the matter and the regularity of the conduct attributable to the head teacher, on which due investigations are also underway;

CONSIDERING therefore the need to ensure the confidentiality and dignity of the people involved through an emergency intervention in order to limit the further dissemination of personal data;

NOTICE, therefore, the need to have, pursuant to art. 58, par. 2, lett. f), of the Regulations, as a matter of urgency against G.O.L. Impresa Sociale S.r.l., as data controller, the extent of the provisional limitation of processing, to be considered as referring to the further dissemination, including online, of the contents of the messages acquired and reported in the article indicated above, as well as in any further article published by the same or by other publications published by the same company;

CONSIDERING it necessary to have the aforementioned limitation with immediate effect from the date of receipt of this provision, reserving any other determination upon the outcome of the definition of the investigation initiated on the case;

REMEMBER that, in the event of non-compliance with the measure ordered by the Guarantor, the criminal sanction referred to in art. 170 of the Code and the administrative sanctions provided for by art. 83, par. 5, read e), of the Regulations;

CONSIDERING that the conditions for the application of art. 5, paragraph 8, of Regulation no. 1/2000 on the organization and functioning of the Guarantor's office, which provides that "In cases of particular urgency and non-postponement that do not allow the convocation of the Guarantor in good time, the president can adopt the measures pertaining to the body , which cease to be effective from the moment of their adoption if they are not ratified by the Guarantor in the first useful meeting, to be convened no later than the thirtieth day ";

HAVING REGARD to the documentation on file;

WHEREAS, THE GUARANTOR

a) pursuant to art. 58, par. 2, lett. f) of the Regulations, urgently provides, with respect to G.O.L. Impresa Sociale S.r.l., as data controller, the extent of the provisional limitation of any further dissemination, including online, of the contents of the messages acquired and reported in the article indicated above, as well as in any further article published by the same or by others publications published by the same company;

b) the aforementioned limitation takes effect immediately from the date of receipt of this provision, subject to any other determination as to the outcome of the investigation initiated on the case.

The Guarantor, pursuant to art. 58, par. 1, of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, invites G.O.L. Impresa Sociale S.r.l., also, within 3 days from the date of receipt of this provision, to communicate which initiatives have been undertaken in order to implement the provisions of this provision and in any case to provide adequately documented feedback. Please note that failure to respond to the request pursuant to art. 58 is punished with the administrative sanction pursuant to art. 83, par. 5, lett. e), of Regulation (EU) 2016/679.

Pursuant to art. 78 of the Regulation, as well as art. 152 of the Code and 10 of the d. lg. 1 September 2011, n. 150, an opposition to this provision may be proposed to the ordinary judicial authority, with an appeal filed with the ordinary court of the place where the data controller resides, within thirty days from the date of communication of the provision itself, or sixty days if the applicant resides abroad.

Rome, 1 April 2022

PRESIDENT
Stanzione

SEE ALSO Press release of 2 April 2022

[doc. web n. 9759779]

Provision of 1 April 2022

Record of measures
n. 116 of 1 April 2022



THE GUARANTOR FOR THE PROTECTION OF PERSONAL DATA

GIVEN the Regulation (EU) n. 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016, relating to the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data, as well as the free circulation of such data ("General Data Protection Regulation" - hereinafter, "Regulation "), With particular regard to arts. 4, 9, 85 and 58;

CONSIDERING also the Code regarding the protection of personal data (Legislative Decree 30 June 2003, n. 196, hereinafter the "Code" as amended by Legislative Decree 10 August 2018, n. 101);

GIVEN the "Deontological rules relating to the processing of personal data in the exercise of journalistic activity" (Official Gazette of 4 January 2019, n. 3), hereinafter "Deontological rules";

NOTING that, on March 31, 2022, G.O.L. Social Enterprise S.r.l. published in the newspaper "Open Online.it", an article that updates on a news story that involved the head of a Roman high school - identified with the name and surname and a photo - and an eighteen-year-old high school student, indicated with the initial episodes of name and surname, following the revelation of a sentimental relationship that would have occurred between the two and on which investigations are underway by the competent school offices;

NOTING that the article (https: // ...) has published some excerpts of the messages that the manager and the student would have exchanged that report details of the personal relationships between the interested parties, lingering on the phrases that would have been exchanged;

GIVEN art. 137, paragraph 3, of the Code, which provides that in the event of the dissemination or communication of personal data for journalistic purposes, the limits of the right to press remain in place to protect the rights referred to in Article 1 of the same Code (human dignity, fundamental rights and freedoms of the person) and, in particular, the limitation of the essentiality of information regarding facts of public interest;

CONSIDERING that this principle is recalled, in general terms, also in the Deontological Rules (articles 5 and 6);

CONSIDERING that the details described (and commented on) found in the excerpts of messages reported in the article add nothing regarding the need to clarify the matter and the regularity of the conduct attributable to the head teacher, on which due investigations are also underway;

CONSIDERING therefore the need to ensure the confidentiality and dignity of the people involved through an emergency intervention in order to limit the further dissemination of personal data;

NOTICE, therefore, the need to have, pursuant to art. 58, par. 2, lett. f), of the Regulations, as a matter of urgency against G.O.L. Impresa Sociale S.r.l., as data controller, the extent of the provisional limitation of processing, to be considered as referring to the further dissemination, including online, of the contents of the messages acquired and reported in the article indicated above, as well as in any further article published by the same or by other publications published by the same company;

CONSIDERING it necessary to have the aforementioned limitation with immediate effect from the date of receipt of this provision, reserving any other determination upon the outcome of the definition of the investigation initiated on the case;

REMEMBER that, in the event of non-compliance with the measure ordered by the Guarantor, the criminal sanction referred to in art. 170 of the Code and the administrative sanctions provided for by art. 83, par. 5, read e), of the Regulations;

CONSIDERING that the conditions for the application of art. 5, paragraph 8, of Regulation no. 1/2000 on the organization and functioning of the Guarantor's office, which provides that "In cases of particular urgency and non-postponement that do not allow the convocation of the Guarantor in good time, the president can adopt the measures pertaining to the body , which cease to be effective from the moment of their adoption if they are not ratified by the Guarantor in the first useful meeting, to be convened no later than the thirtieth day ";

HAVING REGARD to the documentation on file;

WHEREAS, THE GUARANTOR

a) pursuant to art. 58, par. 2, lett. f) of the Regulations, urgently provides, with respect to G.O.L. Impresa Sociale S.r.l., as data controller, the extent of the provisional limitation of any further dissemination, including online, of the contents of the messages acquired and reported in the article indicated above, as well as in any further article published by the same or by others publications published by the same company;

b) the aforementioned limitation takes effect immediately from the date of receipt of this provision, subject to any other determination as to the outcome of the investigation initiated on the case.

The Guarantor, pursuant to art. 58, par. 1, of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, invites G.O.L. Impresa Sociale S.r.l., also, within 3 days from the date of receipt of this provision, to communicate which initiatives have been undertaken in order to implement the provisions of this provision and in any case to provide adequately documented feedback. Please note that failure to respond to the request pursuant to art. 58 is punished with the administrative sanction pursuant to art. 83, par. 5, lett. e), of Regulation (EU) 2016/679.

Pursuant to art. 78 of the Regulation, as well as art. 152 of the Code and 10 of the d. lg. 1 September 2011, n. 150, an opposition to this provision may be proposed to the ordinary judicial authority, with an appeal filed with the ordinary court of the place where the data controller resides, within thirty days from the date of communication of the provision itself, or sixty days if the applicant resides abroad.

Rome, 1 April 2022

PRESIDENT
Stanzione