Social network and personal data protection

The “Social network: attention not to fall into the net” convention, organized at the Catholic University of Milan, was held on Wednesday, January 28th on the European Day dedicated to the Protection of Personal Data.

In front of a large and crowded audience (including Anna Masera de La Stampa) five experts said their opinion on the relationship between social networks (facebook above all) and personal data. For the Guarantor for the Protection of Personal Data (better known as the Privacy Guarantor) there were Francesco Pizzetti (president) and Mauro Paissan (component) together with Fausto Colombo (professor of Media Theory and Technique at the Catholic University and director of OSSCOM) and Marco Spolidoro (Professor of Industrial Law), moderated by Ruggero Eugeni, director of the ALMED (High School in Media, Communication and Entertainment of the Catholic University).

The Guarantor has chosen a university for comparison in order to start a dialogue with young people and students. As indeed Pizzetti and Paissan have reiterated, his task is not only to make coercion but also information and prevention. With this in mind, the conference opened with a report by Mauro Paissan (summarized here) which emphasized that the real “antivirus” for incorrect or harmful behavior is the users themselves, composing almost a handbook of good practices, taken up in different locations (for example by Anna Masera and, while Pizzetti reported that the Guarantor is evaluating, together with various operators, a “waterproofing” of social networks to search engines in order to protect the personal data contained.



Fausto Colombo, with a more sociological slant, underlined the different approach of the generations to social networks: adult ones (the digital “migrants”) are often more reluctant to expose themselves and therefore they protect themselves more, while the younger ones (the “natives”) digital) are struggling to find a clear way of managing data that is disseminated, differently from what happens for mobile phones and instant messaging programs. Colombo also highlighted the fact that the media has always had to do with the question of social control (Foucault docet), but in this case there is a need to develop greater guarantees and sensitivity.

Marco Spolidoro has instead underlined the lack of a consolidated jurisprudence that protects the data on the net, above all dwelling on the copyright and citing the Peppermint case.

Finally, Ruggero Eugeni highlighted a feature of social networks: if the other media are constituted independently of social behavior, in the case of social networks the tool is placed simultaneously with them and the two aspects cannot be dissociated, making our mental schemes obsolete.

The concern for personal data fits in fully with the question of the existence of a memory on the net: what will we find on the net looking for ourselves in a decade? In the meantime, how will the kaleidoscope of pages that concern us be combined?

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