Analysis. ‘The controller of that data, and the only one who can make use of it for institutional purposes, is the M5S and no one else.’

Italian privacy authority recognizes 5 Stars’ control of Rousseau member data

The Italian Privacy Guarantor handed a victory to the 5 Star Movement in its decision over the list of members which is the object of the dispute between the movement and the Rousseau Association.

The authority ruled that according to the documentation filed, the M5S and Rousseau are the data controller and data processor for the processing of the data of party members. They write that the privacy legislation provides that the data processor, “at the choice of the data controller,” is required to delete or return all personal data, “after the provision of the required services related to the processing is finished.”

So, the database should be returned to the M5S. This could break the stalemate in which the process of the M5S’s re-foundation, consulting its members and formalizing the leadership of Giuseppe Conte, has become mired.

The Five Stars are jubilant. “The decision of the Guarantor is very clear, and goes exactly in the direction we have advocated for some time,” they say. “The controller of that data, and the only one who can make use of it for institutional purposes, is the M5S and no one else. We are sorry that we lost time because of the obstacles that have been put in place by some people intentionally in order to slow down the process that Giuseppe Conte is working on and that the M5S community is looking forward to. Now the Rousseau Association must comply with the order of the Privacy Guarantor and return the member data within the deadline, that is, within the next 5 days.”

According to Conte, “the decision of the Guarantor clarifies the situation and eliminates any pretext, confirming our arguments. Now we start, we’re looking ahead. It will be our community that will indicate the path. There is not a minute to lose, there are many citizens to whom we have to give their voice back.”

However, Davide Casaleggio, the leader of the Rousseau Association that has been holding the Five Stars in check for weeks, continues to take a different view. He reiterated that he would be willing to hand over the data only to the legitimate representative of the M5S, which, according to him, does not exist at the moment, since Crimi’s interim role lapsed while waiting for the new leader.

To understand the situation, we must analyze the text of the decision of the Guarantor, which mentions Crimi as “pro-tempore legal representative” of the Five Stars Movement, including in his capacity as a senior member of the Guarantor Committee of the party. So, at this point, the only option Casaleggio has to avoid “surrendering” the data within the five-day deadline provided is to resort to an ordinary civil court.

Rousseau has the right to fight the decision “by means of an appeal filed with an ordinary court within the term of 30 days from the date of communication of the measure itself,” the order reads. If it fails to comply with the order, the association risks an administrative fine of up to €10 million. Casaleggio claims that “to identify the legal representative of M5S, it is necessary to follow the statute and vote for a steering committee of five people, as decided during the States General last winter and ratified by the members with three votes (one to approve the direction in December, and two others for the amendment of the statute in February).”

One highly significant detail: Conte would not be able to be a candidate in such a vote, since he would need to have been a member of the M5S for at least six months, and he is not currently a member. Therefore, in that case it would be necessary to vote in a new statute tailored to his person.

There was relief on the M5S side, but the internal turmoil continued. On Tuesday, Alessandro Di Battista showed up at the offices of the Chamber groups, who continues to send signals both to those who were expelled for having voted against Draghi and to his former colleagues who are loyal to Conte, stressing the need for the M5S to get back to its roots and join the opposition.

“The M5S is evolving towards a new movement, with Giuseppe Conte at the helm,” Luigi Di Maio said in reply. Those from his entourage deny that there is any rivalry between him and the former prime minister, after the letter in which he made a public mea culpa on the issue of the party’s vigilantism.

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