This week in Italy No. 7 – A New Law on Hate Speech?

The Italian center-left deputy Alessandra Moretti has announced she will launch a bill on hate speech on internet. At the moment, the bill has been frozen due to the political situation and the change of the government.

The bill has been presented after MP Moretti’s Twitter profile has been attacked by hackers and after the publication of a post on Beppe Grillo’s blog (the leader of the Five Stars Movement) entitled “what would you do if you were in your car with Laura Boldrini” (the president of the Chamber of Deputies). According to Ms. Boldrini, the post was an instigation to violence and many of the commentators would be potential rapists.

Even if the text of the proposal is not available yet (it has been filed on February 4), it aims at modifying the Privacy Code (Legislative Decree No. 196 of 2003), the Press Law (No. 47 of 1948) and the rules of the Criminal Code concerning the defamation.

According to the presentation report, the law should avoid that internet, from extraordinary instrument of democracy and the promotion of freedom, would be turned into a space where anonymously violate third persons’ rights. According to Ms. Moretti, the cases in which internet is used as a tool for propagating violence, denigration, mockery or harassing and bullying vulnerable persons (including children) are becoming more frequent.

The bill also deals with the right of the citizens to be forgotten as well as the right to update or rectify their personal data and to ask for the de-indexation of personal data that are inaccurate, offensive to their dignity or even outdated.

However some of the rights (for instance, the rights to update or rectify) are already hold by the Privacy Code) or are just about to be introduced by the EU Data protection Regulation (e.g. the right to be forgotten).