Italy: The Italian Data Protection Authority Prohibits Companies From Using Software Which May Monitor Employees

Last Updated: 2 May 2018
Article by ICT Legal Consulting


On 8 March 2018, the Italian Data Protection Authority (hereinafter, the "Garante") banned any further processing activities of the Customer Care employees' data, which were carried out by an important Italian telecommunication company (hereinafter, the "Company"), through a software (namely, Salesforce Arcadia, hereinafter the "software") that handled the calls to subscribers. The software processed not only the data related to the calls of the customers and their biographical data in order to facilitate the management of the customer's request, but also the personal data of the call center operators of the Company, enabling further processing of information related to their activity.

Specifically, the Garante contested:

  • the Company's failure to deliver to such employees a comprehensive information about the processing;
  • the absence of a specific Trade Union agreement.

Therefore, the processing was declared unlawful and the data collected inoperable.

Main issues

The measure at stake results from an investigation that the Garante launched in response to complaints from a Trade Union organisation and from call center employees after the introduction of a new software by the Company in January 2016, with the purpose of being used as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) for the customers of the Company.

The analysis of the software revealed that it allows to establish adequate links between the different activities of hundreds of call center operators and, in particular, the storage, the collection and the recording of some of their personal data, such as the identification number of the employee ("operators code)", the type of activity performed, the duration, the date and the time of the call.

Such data would be used by the Company to evaluate – through daily reports – the performance, the efficiency and the quality of the service and generally improve the organisation's internal resources.

The Company clarified that such recording does not automatically generate reports in order to monitor the operators' activities and that the relevant human resources functions do not have access to the collected data of the employees, which may be used only by legitimate users to manage the ordinary interaction with the customers, and by system administrators.

The corporate managers of the Company declared that they were unaware of the opportunity to carry out – through the abovementioned software – individual and specific processing and profiling operations of the data related to the quantity and to the quality of the work performance of the employees.

In accordance with the principles of lawfulness and fairness laid down in the article 11.1.a of the D. lgs no. 196/2003 (the Italian Personal Data Protection Code, hereinafter the "Privacy Code") and as stated in a recent judgement of the European Court of Human Rights, which we spoke about some months ago (case of Bărbulescu v. Romania, Application no. 61496/08), the Garante considered that the involved employees did not receive a comprehensive information notice about the processing of their personal data pursuant to article 13 of the Italian Privacy Code because it did not specify in a clear and detailed way the collection and the purpose of these processing activities. With regard to the latter point, the Garante clarified that the processing of the personal data – collected through systems like the one at stake – for the purpose of legal defence of the Company, is allowed only when there is an existing litigation or a pre-litigation situation meanwhile not applicable to abstract and uncertain events of potential litigation defence.

Moreover, the Garante notes that the software allows the employers to track, directly or indirectly, the activities carried out by its operators, enabling the potential monitoring of their work. On this regard, the Garante – contrary to the view expressed by the Company – considers that the software at stake cannot be considered as a tool used to purely carry out the work of the call center operators but rather as an organisational tool that may be used for the indirect and remote monitoring of the Company's employees; originating the need of applying the procedures laid down in article 4.1 of the Law no. 300/1970 ("Statuto dei lavoratori") and therefore a specific union trade agreement or the previously expressed authorisation of the local Labour Inspectorate must be entered into.

Practical implications

In light of the above, companies should pay special attention to the softwares adopted within their own organisation in order to verify if any software is able to potentially track the employees' activities. In the event that the verification has a positive outcome, the companies should:

  • assess the proportionality and subsidiarityof the intended monitoring as defined by Article 29 Working Party Opinion 2/2017, in order see whether less intrusive means may achieve the same aim;
  • provide an adequate and comprehensive information notice to the employees concerned, which clarifies the modality and the purposes of the processing pursuant to Article 13 of the Privacy Code;
  • enter into Trade Union agreements with the Trade Union organisations concerned or, alternatively, obtain the expressed authorization of the local Labour Inspectorate pursuant to Article 4 of the Statuto dei lavoratori.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions