Monthly Event Reports
April 2023 | Government announces state of emergency over migrants’ arrival
The government declared a state of emergency to deal with the increase of migrant arrivals across the Mediterranean. The decision was taken following the suggestion of the Ministry for Civil Protection and Sea Policies and will last for six months. According to the government, the measure aims to allow the authorities to respond to the crisis and repatriate migrants faster by bypassing Parliament in enacting laws, while giving the executive branch special powers. The data coming from the Interior Ministry show that 31,000 migrants arrived since the start of 2023, as compared to around 8,000 in the same period two years ago. However, according to civil society, actual numbers are higher. In 2016, more than 181,436 migrants reached Italy, but a state of emergency was not declared.
March 2023 | Data Protection Authority bans ChatGPT over data privacy concerns
The Italian Data Protection Authority (Garante) has temporarily blocked the AI ChatGPT program over data privacy concerns. Garante contested the absence of clear data protection policies, a legal basis justifying personal data collection and storage, and an age-verification system preventing minors from accessing illicit material. The authority also added that on 20 March ChatGPT experienced a data breach of user conversations and payment information. OpenAI (the company behind ChatGPT) risks a fine of up to EUR 20 million or 4 per cent of its worldwide annual revenue if it does not communicate a plan to adjust ChatGPT to comply with EU data privacy regulations. Italy has become the first Western country to block ChatGPT, prompting other regulators in Europe to examine ChatGPT’s compliance with data privacy regulations.
February 2023 | Fatal migrant shipwreck sparks debate and leads to investigations
On the night of 26 February, a wooden ship carrying over 170 migrants from Turkey broke apart near the east Italian coast. Migrants were reportedly from Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, and Pakistan. At least 59 people, including children, were found dead the same day, but the numbers rose to 70 in the following days. Only 80 survivors have been found. In the aftermath of the event, the prosecutor of Crotone has opened two investigations: one concerning the suspected smugglers arrested by the Italian police; and another assessing whether there were delays by Italian authorities in responding to the migrant boat. Particular attention has been focused on why the coast guard was never sent to check on the boat. This migration tragedy sparked debate on migration policies and the need for the EU to revise its migration plan.
January 2023 | The Council of Ministries enacts a Decree on migration flows
On 3 January, the Council of Ministries implemented a decree on NGO rescue missions, modifying the existing 130/2020 decree. The decree adds new requirements for the management of migration flows. Under the new decree, NGOs are prevented from conducting multiple searches and are required to collect and share information about migrants’ intention to claim asylum before disembarking. Human Rights Watch and a joint statement of 20 NGOs pointed out the risks posed to migrants and asylum seekers by the decree and the violation of several international conventions and laws. On 30 January, the Conference of International NGOs (INGOs) of the Council of Europe evaluated the decree and concluded that it does not comply with the rights embedded in Articles 8 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights – right to private life and family, and freedom of associations and assembly – due to lack of legality, legitimacy, and proportionality.