The clash between the Privacy Guarantor and Minister Vittorio Colao is not good news. Meanwhile, on the merits: an important service, decisive for the resumption of a normal life, the green certificate, will not be available for now on IO, the main public administration app, used by over eleven million people. Reason: “critical issues found”. In fact, with a separate provision, the Authority “has urgently ordered the company PagoPA to temporarily block some data processing carried out through the aforementioned app which involve interaction with Google and Mixpanel services, and which therefore involve a transfer to third countries (eg USA, India , Australia) of particularly sensitive data (eg cashback transactions, payment instruments, holiday bonuses), carried out without users having been adequately informed and given their consent “. Technically, a bomb: the country’s leading digital transformation app would be outlawed; and the Guarantor writes that on these issues “the Authority had already drawn attention with various provisions of 2020, also providing indications to make the use of the app compliant with the privacy legislation”. In short, we warned you and you didn’t give a damn.
The reply came immediately with a joint statement by Minister Colao with PagoPa, the public company that manages the IO app, to categorically deny that particularly sensitive data of citizens end up in non-European countries and therefore where the protection of personal data is much weaker. . Who is right? Could the Guarantor have made such a mistake by stating something technically false? And can the minister deny the Guarantor if he is not technically sure of what he says? Today we will know more: what we have understood, speaking with the interested parties, is that there are data traces that actually lead out of the European Union but they are of little value, “all the important ones are locked up in the EU”. We’ll see if that’s the case. But this is a dangerous confrontation, which should have been avoided: privacy in the digital age is becoming an increasingly important and increasingly abused right. And on the other hand, there are more and more frequent signs of intolerance of businesses and politics towards an issue seen as “a bureaucratic hitch”. A year ago, at the time of Immuni, it seemed that it would have been right and inevitable to launch mass digital surveillance to combat the pandemic, but the protection of our fundamental right prevailed. Not because privacy should prevail over public health, but because health protection should not become a pretext for limiting our freedoms when it is not strictly necessary. And for Immuni it wasn’t necessary.
Now privacy is back under attack. This clash does not seem to strengthen the Guarantor: politics does not take advantage of it to get rid of a fundamental protection of our freedoms.