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Parliamentary questions
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5 December 2017
Question for written answer P-007492-17
to the Commission
Rule 130
Eleonora Evi (EFDD) , Marco Valli (EFDD) , Dario Tamburrano (EFDD) , Fabio Massimo Castaldo (EFDD) , Isabella Adinolfi (EFDD) , Marco Zullo (EFDD)

 Subject:  State aid and protection of personal data: the case of Watson Health in Milan
 Answer in writing 

According to press sources(1), the Commission has written to the Italian Government to seek clarification on the agreement signed on 31 March 2016 whereby the first European Watson Health research centre (Watson Health, a cognitive computing system that collects global health data, was set up in 2015 by IBM) is to be based at the Milan Expo 2015 site.

In return for this operation (and the related investment of USD 150 million), the Italian Government reportedly promised to grant EUR 60 million in funding and to supply an IBM Group company (Softlayer Technologies Italia srl) with the health data held by public authorities concerning 61 million Italians — starting with the people of Lombardy — although nobody had given their prior consent.

The Italian Data Protection Authority, which has intervened in this matter, has apparently received no reply to date from the Government.

1. Can the Commission confirm that the Directorate-General for Competition sent a letter, as described above, on 31 October 2017?

2. Does it think that Article 107 TFEU has been infringed?

3. Does it consider a further breach to have occurred, regarding EU legislation on the protection of personal data and Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights?

(1)See, for example, the article by Gianni Barbacetto published in Il Fatto Quotidiano on 5 November 2017 entitled ‘L’UE sgrida l’Italia sui dati sanitari: Perché li volete regalare a IBM?’.

Original language of question: IT 
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