Italy and its Digital Agenda: New Government, Old Risks

Italy and its Digital Agenda: New Government, Old Risks


“Spend better, not more … Challenge the previous wisdom … In particular the so-called “certified email” (PEC in Italian) … Being a latecomer to some of these themes is an advantage and not a disadvantage … Learning from the issues with existing smart city programs and better understanding why open government is struggling in many places where it has been adopted early is key to prioritize scarce resources. Unfortunately lobbies from the local technology sector and academia seem to push toward a me-too attitude, trying to mimic what others have been doing, irrespective of whether they have been successful or not … Develop internal skills, without relying too much on vested interests … there has been a gradual loss of competencies through downsizing and transformation of relevant agencies. Such competencies need to be rebuilt, and should not be outsourced … both the strategic objectives and the execution plans need to be bold enough to create a clear fracture with the past, put capable government officials in the driving seat, and push the local technology sector to share risks and opportunities rather than enjoy public funding.”

A 2012 assessment, but still valid. There are a number of issues that need to be addressed:

Move to open software, (this is worth over one billion, two in the longer range,) in two steps:

1) Eliminate all non-free programs, and after a few months
2) Eliminate all non-free operating systems, transit to free operating systems
3) Introduce as much as possible of the scalable free COTS available (LAMP, UAMP, OPAL based,) into public administration, “especially” at local level, (and cut the funding for proprietary software, at PCs and PC-compatible servers levels.)
4) Introduce free bare metal hyper-visors, and increase life cycle of systems with light distributions, push free virtualization to run old junk instead than porting.

Then make all the administrations talk to each other, again in multiple steps:

5) Port important legacy to open on FOSS
6) Interface legacy upwards with standards (e.g. tuxedo)
7) Design a multi tier architecture where the upper level maintains the investments in mainframes and large systems, but interfaces trough gateways to a new unified backbone tier, based on open standards (same LAMP, UAMP, OPAL, etc.)
8) Implement standardized cross back up tiers, clusters/replication among neighbor agencies.

Then, prioritize the backbone expensive hardware/communications infrastructure, privilege routes away from over two million people cities and keep installations over 60 meters MSL, “but” increase the tax write-off for private investment, let them create (and charge) for the high speed metropolitan networks, and alternative last mile options, like fiber to sidewalk, cable, et cetera.

Finally, introduce tax write-offs for donation of hardware and non-profit and cooperatives for responsible reconditioning and recycling, load open software on old PCs and give away at political price (like 25 euro a piece) and flash with open firmware wifi routers, and give to cities to make free wifi sposts, they may be slow, but free access is a good price, give them to bars, libraries, cafe’, places who will guarantee having open access and network up 24 hours a day.

The Caio idea of a paperless public administration and electronic invoices and payments, is good, in the long range, for unclassified stuff the public administration should transit 100% on paperless. The certified email, not worth the cost, how many “certified letters” you get a year ? Have not seen one in years, maybe the government has to ‘simplify,’ signature on receipt, more than enough.


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