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7. Data protection

7.1. Italy - Data protection in telecom services introduced and data protection provisions relating to the press modified

The Italian Council of Ministers has adopted, under delegation from Parliament, a legislative decree implementing Directive 97/66/EC on data protection in telecommunications services and amending the provisions relating to journalists in the general law on data protection 675/96.

The legislative decree establishes, inter alia , the adoption of minimum standards of internal and network security measures in data processing and handling for telecom operators. The network security measures are to be adopted by telecom operators in co-operation with the incumbent telecom operator managing the public switched telephone service, and differences are to be arbitrated by the Communications Authority after consultation with the Privacy Authority.

Among other provisions, the measure establishes the possibility of using anonymous prepaid cards for payment of every kind of telecommunications services by the consumer, and the prohibition of automatically sent “junk faxes” for commercial purposes.

The section of the legislative decree amending the provisions of Law 675/96 on the press inter alia exempts journalists from asking for permission to treat sensitive data when this is justified by their duty to inform, and requires publication in the Official Journal of a self-regulation code of the journalists' professional body approved by the Privacy Authority.

A draft of the legislative decree as adopted by the Council of Ministers is available on the Internet at .

The final text will be available at as soon as it is published in the Official Journal.

7.2. Canada- Government Discussion Paper on scheduled new privacy legislation

27 March 1998 saw the expiry of the two-month consultation period set by Industry Canada and the Federal Department of Justice for citizens to submit their formal responses to the new draft legislative framework on privacy. Unlike the US position, the new Canadian privacy guidelines recognise that voluntary measures alone are not enough to foster adequate privacy protection since many companies will not develop or adhere to privacy codes, thus jeopardising consumer trust and destabilising the marketplace. The outline of the new privacy legislation is included within a discussion paper entitled "The Protection of Personal Information: Building Canada's Information Economy and Society" (available at ), which was co-authored by the departments of Industry and Justice, Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for the Information Highway.

The paper outlines the various issues that must be addressed by the proposed legislation, which is in line with the requirements of the EU Data Protection Directive and aims at protecting personal information while allowing the free flow of information in a global marketplace. It also recognises that the protection offered by the Federal Privacy Act of 1982 together with the corresponding legislation existing in most Canadian provinces and enforced by the Privacy Commissioner is of limited scope since it applies mainly to the public sector. Protection in the private sector is sporadic and uneven, creating uncertainty for business and a lack of uniform protection for consumers in on-line transactions and electronic commerce. ( ).

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