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ROME — The Italian privacy watchdog is preparing to launch an investigation into digital marketing linked to the governing 5Star Movement, an official said.

Last week Linkiesta.it, an Italian online newspaper, reported that Casaleggio Associati — a digital marketing company owned and operated by the son of a late 5Stars co-founder — may have illegally accessed the personal data of millions of Facebook users without their consent.

According to the report, an online app released in 2013 for party activists allowed the company to access the personal data of the activists as well as their Facebook friends. (Casaleggio Associati still owns the 5Stars digital democracy platform, Rousseau, and oversees the partys policy positions.)

“We can confirm that we have received some complaints regarding the issue … We are about to start an investigation into it,” a spokesperson for the privacy watchdog in Rome said.

The apps privacy disclaimer specifically noted that the app could access third parties data through the users Facebook page and “the user will act as a guarantor [of such data] on Mr. Grillos behalf,” meaning the user would be responsible for third-party access. (Beppe Grillo, a comedian, co-founded the 5Stars.)

The disclaimer also specified that the app would access the name, last name, date of birth, national fiscal code, address, email and any other information available on the users Facebook page, including their political or religious views, as well as the same information for third parties.

Davide Casaleggio, son of 5Stars co-founder Gianroberto Casaleggio, denied any wrongdoing in a statement at the end of last week, saying the app asked for “users consent to access their personal data.” The data had been used to classify the level of users activism “for example if they changes their profile picture often or had many friends that used the [party] app,” he added.

At least three people have filed complaints to the privacy watchdog asking to Read More – Source

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