i3 | May 28, 2020

International Focus: Italy

Mark Chisholm

Coronavirus a Balancing Act for Italian Privacy

While Europe has some of the strictest privacy laws in the world, the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has tested Italians’ respect for personal privacy. Mobile carriers Telecom Italia, Vodafone and WindTre have begun sharing location data of customers’ phones with authorities, while respecting privacy laws. The Lombardy region used the data to see how well citizens are abiding by a strict quarantine lockdown. The measures are similar to those being taken in Austria and Germany.

Robots Assist During Pandemic

Italy is looking to robots to lend a helping hand during the COVID-19 pandemic. The country — which has been hit especially hard by the disease — is using robots to offer medical assistance to quarantined patients, attend classes for students via teleconferencing, and more. One such robot, Ivo, is a solution that consists of a tablet, on top of a robotic set of wheels, that attends classes and streams video of the class to students. Meanwhile, in Varese, northern Italy, one hospital has received six humanoid robots to take the pulse of highly infectious patients.

Facebook Fighting Misinformation in Italy

In Italy, Facebook has created a service to verify information posted on its WhatsApp platform. The service is a result of a partnership with Italian fact-checking service Facta. WhatsApp users can send content posted to the Facebook-owned platform to Facta, which will then analyze it for its validity. The WhatsApp messaging app has been victim to a number of hoaxes amid Italy’s COVID-19 crisis.

Italian 3D Printing Company Aids Hospitals

Isinnova, an Italian 3D printing company, has developed a 3D-printed adapter that transforms a snorkeling mask into life-saving headgear by attaching it to a ventilator. The company — which is now 3D printing affordable valves for hospital respirators — has released the design, dubbed the Charlotte Valve, for others to print. It also patented the adapter to ensure it remains free to use. “We decided to freely share the file for the realization of the link in 3D printing. Unlike the respirator valve, the link is easy to make, so it is possible for all makers to print it correctly,” the company writes on its website, isinnova.it.

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