Wire-tapping in Italy

Civil Libertarians may have an unusual ally – Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi.

The Telegraph reports that at any one time in Italy 130,000 phone lines are being recorded by authorities, with a total of 3,000,000 Italians spied on every year.

Berlusconi has said a new law will ban the use of wire-taps except in investigations into and organised with illegal wiretaps carrying a penalty of up to five years in prison.

Italy has a population of 60 million, so is the equivalent in New Zealand of a bit over 8,000 phone lines being tapped at any poin in time and 200,000 NZers being spied on by the state every year.

And people complain about the US Patriot Act!

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