Installing a spy software on someone else’s phone that allows interception of communications is a crime, even if the person under control is fully aware of it. It is, in fact, a violation of Article 617-bis of the Italian Criminal Code.
The Italian Supreme Court recently ruled (judgement no. 15071/2019) clarifying that the spy software is to be included among the devices and instruments designed at intercepting or preventing communication, as set forth by the Criminal Code.
The law introducing this crime aims at protecting the privacy and freedom of communication among individuals by considering illegal any instrument used in violation of these rights, including the last generation technological devices.
The case-law concerns a husband who installed spy software on his wife’s mobile phone to intercept her communications. The husband defended himself in court by declaring that the wife was well aware of the software installation.
According to the Supreme Court, however, the protection of privacy and freedom prevails and the awareness of the victim is not at all a reason for excluding the liability of the one who spies. In conclusion, under Italian Law, in order to feature a crime, it is sufficient the mere circumstance of having installed the software. If the software does not work and there is no interception this is completely irrelevant and there is still a crime to be punished.