While distracted by its own internal troubles, Italy is trying to handle the NSA tapping scandal like the other European countries.
However, wiretapping was a problem in Italy much before.
According to statistics, the Italian telephones are between the most bugged in the world, due to the widespread use of wiretapping by the District Attorney’s Offices in criminal investigations.
Successive Governments headed by Silvio Berlusconi tried to limit this practice, but every time they were accused of simply trying to protect Mr Berlusconi himself, whose phone was put under surveillance many times.
In 2006, 21 officers of the national phone company Telecom were arrested on charges of illegal wiretapping, with an alleged involvement of the Italian Intelligence Services.
During the Cold War, the Italian Intelligence Services earned a reputation of excessive independence from Government and Parliament scrutiny, and of being prone to illegal and even unconstitutional activities.