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Italy: Garante releases instructions to defend personal data from web scraping

On May 30, 2024, the Italian data protection authority (Garante) announced instructions for defending personal data published online by public and private entities as data controllers from web scraping. The instructions also cover the indiscriminate collection of data on the internet by third parties, with the aim of training generative artificial intelligence (AI) models. The Garante stated that the instructions also consider the contributions received during the fact-finding investigation approved in December 2023. Pending the rulings of current ongoing investigations on the lawfulness of web scraping of personal data based on legitimate interest, the Garante stated that it is necessary to carry out assessments regarding the need to adopt suitable measures to prevent or at least hinder web scraping.

The Garante highlighted measures for adoption including the:

  • creation of reserved areas accessible only after registration to remove data from public availability;
  • inclusion of anti-scraping clauses to websites' terms of service;
  • monitoring traffic to web pages to identify any anomalous flows of incoming and outgoing data; and
  • technological solutions that allow for exclusion in whole or in part of the content of websites and platforms from unwanted scraping activity.

The Garante also mentioned that the instructions are not mandatory and data controllers must evaluate the measures to implement to prevent or mitigate the effects of web scraping. Specifically, the Garante mentioned that implementation costs should be considered as well as the nature, scope, context, and purpose of the processing carried out with the additional consideration that these are non-exhaustive measures from a technological point of view regarding web scraping.

You can read the press release here and the instructions here, both only available in Italian.