ROME, June 19 /PRNewswire/ --

- Institute will focus on Policy Solutions to Protect Personal Data in the Digital Age in Italy and the European Union

A group of prominent Italian privacy advocates and jurists have launched the Italian Institute for Privacy (, a public policy think tank focused on improving privacy protection in the digital age. This broad-based coalition of prominent Italians will focus its efforts on the protection of personal privacy online for citizens in Italy and throughout Europe.

Protection of personal privacy and data online is a growing problem that will challenge European policy-makers. Implementation of an appropriate legislative and regulatory framework that is pro-consumer, transparent and allows for customer control is an important first step in the protection of privacy.

Recent actions by the Italian Government demonstrate that steps must be taken to protect online data. The government's release of the tax returns of Italian citizens is just one example of a large-scale breach of privacy.

"It is quite scary that citizens can suddenly have their personal data displayed online for everyone to see," said Luca Bolognini, spokesman for The Italian Institute for Privacy. "The government's decision to make private financial information about every Italian citizen available to the general public was a fundamental breach of trust. This extreme action shows how vigilant we citizens must be in defense of our basic right to privacy."

Protecting personal data online transcends across all of Europe, not just Italy. As the internet grows it offers new and innovative services to online users. While these innovations are exciting, they also pose significant risks to consumers. It is the obligation of ISPs and content providers to ensure that privacy protections are in place and that users are able to make informed decisions about their participation in online services.

Recently, the Article 29 Working Party, composed of Data Protection Authorities of the EU Member States and chaired by the European Commission, issued a landmark report that recommended that the storage length of personal data that can be reasonably justified by search engines be limited to no more than six months. Internet search providers and content providers must disclose their data collection, retention and privacy policies upfront.

"The Institute believes it will be imperative for European policy makers, especially those in Brussels, to ensure appropriate action is taken to protect people's privacy online," said Bolognini.

About The Italian Institute for Privacy

The Italian Privacy Institute, based in Rome, works to ensure that Italian and European Internet users are properly protected against invasions of their personal privacy. We conduct our analyses and formulate our policy proposals based on the following principles: Privacy is a basic human right. Without privacy, citizens are not fully free to search for information, conduct business, and participate in the public debate online; The Internet industry (i.e. service providers, search engines, and others) has a responsibility to ensure the privacy of their customers; Governments have a responsibility to ensure the privacy of its citizens, including properly safeguarding personal information in public databases; and Governments should not be able to infringe on privacy without proper cause and due process. To learn more about The Italian Institute for Privacy, visit

Web site:

Luca Bolognini, Italian and English, +39-3283205142,