Italian DPA: It's illegal to spy on P2P users

By EDRi · March 26, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The Italian Data Protection Authority (Garante per la Protezione dei Dati
Personali) issued a press release on 13 March 2008, explaining that the
private companies can’t systematically monitor the activities of
peer-to-peer (P2P) users that share files on the Internet, for the purpose
of identifying and suing them.

The decision was taken on 28 February 2008 in the very controversial
Peppermint case.

Peppermint is a German record label that has been using since 2007 the
services of a Swiss company, Logistep, in order to gather IP addresses of
Italian users that allegedly shared copyrighted files via peer-to-peer

The company asked an Italian judge to obtain the details on more than 3000
Italian users, to whom it had sent written warning letters via regular mail
asking them to destroy the files they’ve downloaded or face the legal
consequences. The consumers, represented by the consumer NGO Adiconsum, have
won some cases in front of the Civil Rome Tribunal, when the judges denied
Peppermint & Logistep to identify the users behind the IP addresses.

Adiconsum also complained to the Garante considering that this is a
violation of privacy rights. Garante’s decision from 28 February 2008 makes
it clear that spying on the P2P users and collecting their IP
addresses is an illegal activity, calling also as an argument the similar
decision of the Swiss Data Protection Authority.

The Italian DPA notes that the activity is breaching the European Directive
on privacy and electronic communications, violating the purpose principle
because the P2P networks are ment to exchange data and files between
users for personal purposes. Therefore, the usage of users’ data for other
purposes will be a law breach.

Consequently, the Garante has asked the companies that did the monitoring
activities to destroy, until 31 March 2008, all the personal data of the
users that exchanged files via P2P systems.

Internet: illegal spying on users who exchange music files and games(only in
Italian, 13.03.2008)

Internet – Case Peppermint: illegal spying on users who exchange music files
and games (only in Italian, 28.02.2008)

Peppermint, the Garante protects the P2P users (only in Italian 14.03.2008)

Italian File-Sharers Let Off The Hook (17.03.2008)

The Rome Civil Tribunal rejects the appeals presented by Peppermint and
Techland (only in Italian, 17.07.2007)