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Italy Audio and Video Recording Laws

Can You Record Conversations In Italy?

In Italy, you are allowed to record conversations and phone calls that you take part in. You can also record a conversation if the recording:

  • Is necessary to protect your rights.
  • Is done to pursue a legitimate interest unless that legitimate interest is overridden by the other person’s rights and fundamental freedoms, dignity or legitimate interests.
  • Is necessary for the performance of obligations resulting from a contract to which the other person is a party.
  • Is necessary to comply with an obligation imposed by a law, regulations or community legislation.
  • Concerns data relating to economic activities processed in compliance with the legislation in force as applying to business and industrial secrecy.
  • Is necessary for carrying out investigations by defense counsel or to establish or defend a legal claim, as long as the recording is retained for no longer than is necessary.
  • Is necessary exclusively for scientific, historical and statistical purposes in compliance with the respective codes of professional practice.

This law is outlined in Section 24 of the Legislative Decree no. 196 of 30 June 2003, which addresses cases in which no consent is required for processing data.

Recording laws concerning electronic communications are outlined in Section 131 of the Personal Data Protection Code which states that,

“A user shall inform another user whenever, during a conversation, devices are used to enable the said conversation to be heard by others.”

In a Supreme Court ruling dated 10th May 2018 (no. 11322), the Supreme Court confirmed that in the case of conversations, personal data can be processed without prior consent from the individual concerned if the processing is carried out directly by a person taking part in the conversation.

This means you can record conversations that you take part in without obtaining consent from other parties.

Otherwise, if you are not a participant in a conversation or the conditions outlined in the first paragraph are not met, you need to obtain consent from all the parties in the conversation before recording.

Italy Video Recording Laws

It is against the law to publish and disseminate, by any means, reports or images depicting an underage person which may cause such a person to be identified. This law is outlined in Section 13 of Presidential Decree No 448 of 22 September 1988.

Section 50 of the Personal Data Protection Code states that the law above also applies when an underage person is involved, for whatever reason in judicial proceedings concerning non-criminal matters.

In the case of recording videos or photographs of individuals who are of age, this is considered personal data. Therefore, Section 24 of the Legislative Decree no. 196 of 30 June 2003 applies.

In short, video recording laws fall into the same category as phone calls and conversations, meaning consent should be obtained unless the same conditions outlined in the first paragraph are met.

Can You Record Work Conversations in Italy?

In 2018, an Italian Supreme Court ruled that employees can record conversations with their colleagues as long as they are part of the conversation, and the recording is done to protect their rights.

The case in question involved an employee who had been dismissed by his employer for recording conversations with his colleagues during work hours, without obtaining consent from the latter.

In the ruling dated 10 May 2018 (no. 11322), the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the employee stating in its decision that the employee’s actions did not amount to criminal offence or offence punishable by disciplinary measures, since the recordings were carried out to collect evidence of serious problems that existed in the workplace, and to safeguard his position within the company in the context of widespread code of silence that was proven to operate there.

In addition, the employee took adequate measures to prevent the collected data from dissemination. In summary, the employee’s actions were deemed lawful, considering they met all the requirements laid out in law for the exemption of liability. Therefore, his dismissal was deemed unfair.

Recording Laws for Businesses

Italy follows the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), established on May 25, 2018, to control the processing of data owned by EU citizens by companies that have access to such data regardless of whether or not the companies are established within the EU.

In Italy, the GDPR is included in the Italian Personal Data Protection Code which was modified with provisions to adapt the national legislation to the GDPR.