A Statement by the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Enrico Letta, on the Datagate


On 20 November 2013, the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Enrico Letta, gave an urgent report before the Chamber of Deputies on the so-called Datagate, the scandal initiated by the declarations of Edward Snowden. Mr Letta described how the US National Security Agency (NSA) could monitor the flow of metadata of Internet communications at a global level (PRISM Programme). Another surveillance programme (Tempora) would have been established by the British intelligence to monitor communications in submarine fibre-optic cables. In light of this background, he stated:  

I want to confirm here that the Italian intelligence neither took part in the PRISM or Tempora programmes nor were they informed of their existence. Within the context of the Tempora programme, they received a proposal for sharing data that did not relate to Italian citizens and they rejected it as it was incompatible with the rules of our democracy. PRISM and Tempora, which were, as it is now emerging, the core of the activities of the Datagate, were unknown not only to us, but also to the other allies.

The President then mentioned the fact that the Italian Data Protection authority and the Dipartimento delle informazioni per la sicurezza (DIS – Italian intelligence agency) had signed a Protocol of co-operation according to which the DIS shall communicate to the Data Protection authority the archives to which its operative agencies have access. He concluded as follows:

This choice of ours, conscious and convinced, is framed in a normative context which is much more restrictive on the use of new technological developments by the intelligence services than other legal systems. This is a rigorous position of which we Italians must be proud, because it shows the equilibrium of two foundational constitutional values that set a limit to intelligence activities: on the one hand the protection of the security of the Republic, on the other, the constitutionally protected rights and freedoms of our citizens.

The full Italian version of the statement made by the President of the Council of Ministers can be found at: http://www.governo.it/Presidente/Interventi/testo_int.asp?d=73763

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