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AlmaLaurea: on line graduates’ CVs and privacy

09 July 2012

The AlmaLaurea database collects1,620,000 CVs of Italian graduates, available online both in Italian and English and at disposal of companies wishing to hire personnel in Italy and abroad. How is then an on-line CV protected? "Graduates are always in control of their data with AlmaLaurea", Giusella Finocchiaro says. Finocchiaro is professor of Internet Law and Private Law at the University of Bologna, moreover she is a lawyer and the Italian correspondent for the European Commission; in 2011 she was appointed Italian representative at the UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) within the Working Group on electronic commerce and currently she is the legal adviser of the Inter-university Consortium AlmaLaurea. In short, she is one of the leading experts both in Italy and internationally in the field of Information Technology law, privacy and data protection.

Watch the video of the interview

How is privacy protected with the inclusion of the CVs in the AlmaLaurea database?
"Privacy is protected according to the existing Italian legislation: graduates receive an adequate informative report on privacy policies. If graduates agree to put the CV online, this is available to companies, vice versa the CV does not appear in the database".

Are these sensitive data?
"No, the AlmaLaurea database doesn’t collect them. According to the law, the definition of sensitive data is extremely rigorous. Sensitive data concern e.g. religion, political opinions, health and sexual life. So not all confidential data are sensitive ones. The AlmaLaurea database doesn’t include these kind of data but those related to language skills, graduation mark, postgraduate studies, propensity to go abroad and acceptance of job-related geographical mobility; data not legally considered as sensitive ones".

Are graduates always in control of their data?
"Of course. Graduates may update or correct them at any time also asking, whenever they want, to be deleted from the database".

How is an effective data protection granted?
"The protection is provided at multiple levels. At first, when data are entered into the database, graduates receive adequate information on data destination and on the procedures for controlling and modifying them. Then they are asked for consent: deciding whether or not to insert their own data is the best way to exercise their rights. Thereafter graduates can correct or update them at any time. Finally, there are also high technological security measures to prevent unauthorised access to data".

And what if the company misuses the CVs, e.g. for advertising?
"In this case the company commits an unlawful act, as it is the case of commercial advertising, that is considered indeed a criminal offence".

In general, what are the risks to Internet privacy?
"The first risk is that of unlawful profiling. Then there is a general risk concerning safety. Not all internet users necessarily apply the same data protection as AlmaLaurea. In some cases data are not stored properly according to the security measures provided by law. Still, there is the risk, unfortunately ever more frequent, of online frauds and other specific online crimes".

What is the future of online databases?
"Online databases will provide increasing opportunities to benefit from the data: it is a growing sector".

Italian graduates’ CVS are also available to foreign companies. What happens when you cross the border?
"Currently, since AlmaLaurea operates in Italy, it applies the Italian legislation, implementing the European directive of 1995. This is the most stringent existing international legislation on personal data protection and the Italian application of it stands as the most rigorous at EU level. Today Italy is the strictest countries in the protection of personal data".  

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