Italian DPA: Major Critical Issues for Vaccination Pass

4 May 2021

The decree that was recently adopted by the Italian government introducing the so-called ‘green pass’, or vaccination pass, is fraught with major criticalities such as to undermine – in the absence of the required amendments – the soundness and operation of the arrangements to lift travelling bans during the pandemic. Urgent measures are accordingly required to protect rights and freedoms of natural persons. 

This is the stance taken by the Italian SA (Garante per la protezione dei dati personali) in a warning (art. 58 par2(a)) measure that was adopted in pursuance of the EU Regulation and sent officially to all the Ministries involved along with other stakeholders. The warning was also sent to the Prime Minister’s office with a view to the relevant follow-up.

Firstly, the Italian SA highlights that the so-called ‘Italy Reopens’ decree does not provide a suitable legal basis to introduce and regulate a nationwide green pass and it is affected additionally by several data protection shortcomings including the lack of any assessment of possible large-scale risks for the rights and freedoms of individuals. 

Contrary to the requirements laid down in the EU General Data Protection Regulation, the decree does not specify the purposes of the processing of health data and paves the way in this manner to multifarious, utterly unforeseeable future applications that are potentially in conflict with similar EU-wide initiatives. No mention is made of the controller of the processing at issue, which is in breach of the transparency principle and hampers or downright prevents exercise of data subjects’ rights – for instance, in case inaccurate information is contained in a green pass.

Excessive data are included in the pass, which must be produced in case of controls – in breach of the data minimization principle. In order to ensure the pass produced was valid, it would have been enough for the pass to only show its expiry date without using different pass types depending on whether one had got the disease or had been vaccinated. Moreover, the system as currently proposed might be affected – especially in the initial, transitional period – by inaccurate or obsolete data, which might in turn severely affect individuals’ freedom of movement. Finally, no data storage period is mentioned nor are appropriate data integrity and confidentiality measures provided for.

The Italian SA points out that the major criticalities it has found could have been addressed beforehand expeditiously if the drafters of the decree had initiated the required dialogue with the SA pursuant to EU and Italian laws and had thus requested the necessary opinion from the SA without postponing such in-depth assessment.

The Italian SA has offered its cooperation to the government in order to tackle and overcome the criticalities in question.

For further information, please contact the Italian SA:

The press release published here does not constitute official EDPB communication, nor an EDPB endorsement. This press release was originally published by the national supervisory authority and was published here at the request of the SA for information purposes. As the press release is represented here as it appeared on the SA's website or other channels of communication, the news item is only available in English or in the Member State's official language with a short introduction in English. Any questions regarding this press release should be directed to the supervisory authority concerned.