The government slams against the Privacy Guarantor (even for a fistful of euro)

The clichés and the unmade lives. Otherwise: the first impression counts. Professor Pasquale Stanzione, president of the Guarantor for the protection of personal data, more hastily called the Privacy Guarantor, could give a lecture on the first impression starring himself. He was in a room of Palazzo Chigi with Prime Minister Mario Draghi. It was in May.
Stanzione was welcomed with Judge Fabio Mattei, secretary general of the Privacy Guarantor, former head of the influential National Association of Administrative Magistrates. Born in the Samnite village of Solopaca in 1945, Stanzione taught Private Law at the University of Salerno for 36 years and however is unfamiliar with Roman protocols. Instead Mattei visited Chigi several times at the time of Giuseppe Conte and spent a long time in the rooms of Alessandro Goracci, the head of the cabinet, the zero case of the Contiani.
What a pleasure. The pleasure is ours. Please, you can take a seat over there. Thanks, let’s have a short coffee and a drop of water. Having disposed of the pleasantries of an institutional meeting, Draghi was curious to know why every draft of the provision or every slight indiscretion, as happened for the vaccination certificate or the reopening decree, the Guarantor for the protection of personal data, or better the Guarantor of privacy, with great enthusiasm he undertook to scold the government, to denounce that there was a high risk, a real danger, a threat to citizens. A calamity. Stanzione argued his reasons with undoubted academic ability, supported by Mattei’s normative references. And then he extracted from a pocket that was about to overflow from the beginning a list of necessary, mandatory requests to allow the Privacy Guarantor to function.
At the first point there was a decisive question: the staff. Dear Draghi, there are too many things to do and few people. Today the law sets the limit at 162 permanent employees and 20 temporary employees and the Guarantor has 134 of the various types of contracts. Stanzione immediately clarified that he does not intend to equal the German level which has 700 or 800 (they are still calculating them) and not even the French one, but the government, if it wants an attentive, efficient and, one imagines, smiling Guarantor, authorizes at least 100 hiring for the modest cost of about 15 million euros per year.
In point two there was an intervention against discrimination: the salary. As well illustrated by Mattei, the 134 employees of the Privacy Guarantor are haggard and even unfortunate: they receive only 80 percent of the remuneration of the colleagues of the Communications Authority. To bridge the gap, since the cost of income from work is € 21.2 million, or € 158,000 each, the government needs only € 5 million and a handful of €.
At the third point there was a social scourge: compensation. Stanzione’s salary reaches the limit of 240,000 euros, but the other members of the college stop at 160,000. Unacceptable. If not really degrading. Stanzione posed the problem and provided the solution: with twenty million a year, to be inserted into the next budget law or sooner, with another expedient, the government has the opportunity to modernize the Privacy Guarantor. Draghi listened patiently.
The bizarre interview at Palazzo Chigi confirmed the contrasts, it did not provoke them, perhaps it sharpened them. The Privacy Guarantor had already exercised a ferocious accusation against the government with the document published in the Official Gazette on April 23, 2021, a sort of collective warning after the approval of the reopening decree for the pandemic that introduced the green card for those vaccinated with one dose, those tested negative or cured within six months. The Guarantor had raised several objections: lack of consultation, principles of accuracy, principles of transparency, principles of conservation, principles of integrity, principles of confidentiality. For the government the approach is wrong: the Privacy Guarantor should focus on the processing of personal data and not review the purposes of a law and that is to evaluate whether a control is needed for the restaurant or for the cinema or if complete vaccination is essential for a wedding party. Instead, the college demands a preventive check on the legal texts that concern the matters within its competence. The mutual distrust is reflected on the national recovery and resilience plan (Pnrr) which according to the government, even more so according to Vittorio Colao’s Ministry of Innovation, is slowed down on digital issues by the Guarantor. For example, national and local administrations argue that for a simple opinion – those of privacy impact – it takes 14 weeks. The maximum term.

The Guarantor is also an independent authority. And like the others, it is often differently independent of politics. The formation of the college is a year ago. An era ago. To Stanzione we owe the courage to be a candidate for a seven-year mandate exceeding the milestone of 75, which in the Vatican, according to the dictates of Paul VI, implies retirement. The Giallorossi majority, in the always wrong calculations of the subdivision, rewarded Stanzione not only for his commendable academic career, but for a unique feature in the basket of candidates: he was the oldest, and two years compared to Senator Ignazio La Russa di Fratelli of Italy, a class of ’47, a late adolescent. In the midst of the pandemic, therefore, while they were there to organize their own future and that of the Italians with a futuristic spirit, Pd and 5s pilfered Stanzione to cheat La Russa. However, due to the old center-right dynamics, Fratelli d’Italia was entitled to an armchair. The choice was political and they chose a politician: the Piedmontese Agostino Ghiglia, former member of the National Alliance, former regional councilor, already not re-elected in two elections, former protege of Giorgio Almirante in the MSI, former leader of the Youth Front, already a boy who gave them and took them in the 1980s and once got a nine-month sentence without parole for assaulting two high school students and then, he says, got rehabilitation.

In Ghiglia’s rich curriculum, however, there are no particular legal aptitudes to fill the post he holds, albeit with a salary not yet adequate to the 240,000 euros. In honor of the yellow-green acquaintances, who knows, Matteo Salvini’s League has indicated Ginevra Cerrina Feroni, baroness, friend of Conte, professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Florence. Cerrina Feroni has become the constitutionalist of reference of the Northern League and with the same ease of Salvini and, as if she were already a judge in the Council and not the vice president of the Guarantor of privacy, she issues concise sentences on Twitter. In the last device he criticized the French extension of the green pass for the «very serious effects on rights and freedoms». The dry quatern is concluded by the lawyer Guido Scorza, an area technician, now in the Cinque Stelle area, an expert in technologies, but also in privacy.

Stanzione is attributed to the Pd of Nicola Zingaretti and has always known the lawyer Guido Alpa, Conte’s mentor. And therefore whoever sees in Conte the most insidious opponent of Draghi sees a reflection of him in the Privacy Guarantor. Beyond the gossip, the Stanzione college finds itself in a cathartic moment for the role it plays, wherever there are personal data and sensitive information to protect. Tomorrow came early. As soon as it took office, the Stanzione college received the new logo (4,000 euros) as a dowry from its predecessors, which stands out from the past for the presence of two orange squares between the letters of the acronym Gpdp. With a series of contracts in direct assignment, except for an old call for a furniture order for 70,000 euros, the Privacy Guarantor has restored dignity and decorum to the institution. On 20 October he launched the restoration of a walnut burl desk, a Neo-Renaissance desk, a meeting table and an unidentified cabinet for common spaces and for the study of vice president Cerrina Feroni. Pickling cost € 3,450. On 26 October, again the vice president Cerrina Feroni, having ascertained the “age of the curtains”, won a renewal of the upholstery, with synthetic fabric, however, at the low price of 4,530 euros. On November 2, day of the dead, the Privacy Guarantor responded to the urgency of recording an institutional film to “raise public awareness” on the processing of personal data, even if in those weeks the sensitivity was directed elsewhere and the Italians were scared and sealed in the house for curfew. With 32,500 euros, and without the need to call for tenders because the exemptions for the pandemic allow it, the film has been made and of cinematic quality. Unknown the occupants of two executive chairs, presidential style, purchased in December for 948 euros. In March, however, the Privacy Guarantor jumped into the present and opened a profile on Twitter. For the annual management he called an external company for 60,000 euros. Almost halfway through the work, the Guarantor has 3,700 members: the average is 16 euros to reach one. Next time it is better to ask the vice president Cerrina Ferroni for help, who has double it, or invite them to the pizzeria. Even the unvaccinated.

Source: L'Espresso – News, inchieste e approfondimenti Espresso by

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