The Search for a Killer Raised Privacy Concerns in Italy (again)

A massive DNA search involving more than 22,000 DNA tests (which at last tracked down a suspect as the one whose DNA material was found on the body) raised privacy concerns and ultimately a note from the Italian Data Protection Authority (“DPA”) last June. One critic characterized the DNA investigation as a “genetic soap opera,” referring to the fact that the DNA material was first matched with the DNA of a man who had been dead for more than 15 years and only later with his illegitimate son, the alleged killer.

It was not the first time that the press frenzy on the Gambirasio case had prompted the DPA to issue warnings: it happened in 2010 (calling the press to respect the victim family’s privacy) and again in 2011 (when the DPA invited the press to stop publishing images and details of the 13 year old victim). In the June 2014 note, the DPA described the attitude of some media as “informational doggedness” and invited the media to the use “maximum respect” in such cases.

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