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The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, with its judgement no. 61496/08, lodged on 5 September 2017 in the case of Barbulescu vs Romania, condemned Romania because the monitoring by a company of an employee, later dismissed for making a personal use of the company email messaging service, failed to strike a fair balance between the various interests at stake. In particular – on the basis of the assumption whereby the notion of private life enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms must encompass each and every aspect allowing an individual to develop his/her own social identity, including work activities – the Court has clarified that the monitoring by a company of the email messages sent by an employee from the company PC for personal use is allowed only upon fulfilment of a few parameters. These parameters are prior notification, impossibility to adopt less intrusive measures and existence of legitimate reasons to justify monitoring by the company. Therefore, the fundamental principles on privacy at workplaces have been reiterated at a European level. However, these principles were already known to the Italian legislation and case law.
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