Criminal defendants don’t have an absolute right to have their data omitted from published decisions, Italian Supreme Court held

download (3)On February 15, 2017, the Corte di Cassazione, the Italian Supreme Court, refused to hold that every criminal defendant has a right to have his or her personal data deleted from a published decision. The court must evaluate each case to determine if it is appropriate to omit certain personal data.

The Supreme Court clarified the terms under which a criminal defendant has a right to demand the anonymization of the published decision.

Article 52 of Legislative Decree 196/2003, the Italian privacy law, recognizes the right to ask the court to omit personal data for “legitimate reasons” (motivi legittimi) when the decision is published for legal information purpose in legal journals or electronic communication networks.

The “legitimate reasons” must be verified from time to time by the court in order to balance the right of privacy of the individual with the right of the public to learn about the judgement, which is a corollary of the constitutional right to have justice administered in the name of the people.

The Court relied on Italian Data Protection Authority’s Guidelines December 2, 2010 on Processing of Personal Data in publishing of decisions for Legal Information Purpose (G.U. n. 2 January 4, 2011).

Full text of sentenza della sezione sesta penale n. 11959 del 13 marzo 2017 is available (in Italian) at…

For more information on the Italian judgment, contact Francesca Giannoni-Crystal, Federica Romanelli.

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