The Italian Digital Agenda (acronym ADI) is a plan set out by the government within the framework of the so-called 'urgent measures' for growth. This provision wishes to integrate the principles of the European Digital Agenda - an initiative aiming at promoting technological innovation - in the Italian legal and administrative systems. Launched by the European Commission in 2010, the Digital Agenda outlines policies and concrete actions aimed at making the digital revolution accessible to everyone. It also introduces a number of principles such as the 'single digital market', based on Internet broadband and interoperable software - i.e. capable of working and handling data simultaneously without any compatibility issues. Member states have committed to incorporate such strategies within their legal and administrative systems, and to overcome main obstacles to smart and sustainable growth.
The Italian government carried out an analysis of the national context in order to implement these principles, and identified priorities and ways of intervention. The result is the provision of law Growth 2.0 of 2012, which laid the foundations for the concrete application of the Digital Agenda. The main course of action calls for structural innovation in a number of sectors, basically following the main points outlined by the European Commission. These points have been adapted and oriented to the needs of the Italian context.
The so-called digital identity falls within the scope of citizens' services. Citizens will receive a unified digital document. Electronic ID cards and health cards will give them access to all online services provided by public administration. Digital identity will be the main reference point for public administrations when dealing with citizens. Citizens will also gain access to a digital unified registry, digital residence registration and certified mail, the latter being already mandatory for businesses.
With respect to digital administration ADI imagines data and information, including those pertaining to public administration, to be open-access and easily accessible. This refers to the so-called open data, released under an open user license and conceived to enhance access to information and make it available for additional analysis, services and applications. Concerning sustainable mobility, the Digital Agenda supports smart transportation systems and electronic ticketing in order to reduce costs related to issuing and printing of travel documents. Furthermore, public administrations will be required to communicate with each other and with third parties exclusively online. At the same time, digital systems for online purchase of goods and services, as well as for transmission and dissemination of documents will become mandatory.
Innovation will also concern education. ADI is scheduled to launch a digital personalized student file for university students, in order to simplify academic records management procedures. The Agenda also encourages universities to dematerialize exchange of information among themselves, in order to favor and simplify student mobility. All schools will be allowed to adopt books exclusively available in digital format, or sold together with paper versions. Ad-hoc conventions with the Ministry of Education will give students the possibility to access classes through multimedia and remote connections.
The Agenda has also launched the new Electronic Health Record and Health File, which will contain all data relating to citizens' health and their complete clinical record. All health records will thus be digitalized, so as medical prescriptions, in order to set and guarantee same standards and procedures all over the country. Application of pharmaceutical prescriptions, currently limited at the regional level, has now been extended to the whole country.
Bridging the technological divide is a top priority for Italy, and calls for actions such as the promotion of broadband and ultra broadband Internet, as well as for measures to promote digital technology, by bringing Internet connections to a 2 mbps speed in previously uncovered areas and in areas where businesses are struggling. Procedures and requirements have been simplified to encourage diffusion of broadband Internet, including wireless technology, for example through land occupation tax exemption for the placing of the Internet optical fiber.
ADI further encourages use of digital payment technologies. It requires public administrations, as well as any provider of public services, to accept digital payments regardless of the sum. Public administrations are also required to publish all account details (IBAN) on their institutional websites, as well as on any payment request. Any legal person selling products or providing services, including professional ones, will be required, starting 2014, to accept credit card payments.
This process also concerns digital justice. ADI regulates time and manner of communication and notification services, in order to make justice services more efficient. In particular, with respect to any civil legal action, all notifications issued by the records office or the secretary of the prosecutor's office will be delivered digitally. With respect to bankruptcy and extraordinary administration procedures concerning large companies, main notices will also be delivered digitally.
ADI proposes a strategy to transform the country through knowledge circulation, information sharing, connectivity and digital services, in order to make Italy a place where innovation can enhance growth and productivity while significantly reducing costs and simplifying citizens' lives.
Despite being a medium- and long-term strategy whose benefits will not be immediately visible, the Italian Digital Agenda is an important point of departure, long waited by all those dealing with information technology.
Digitalization of the public and private sectors will ensure greater efficiency and cost reductions, translating into a better health care, a safer and more efficient transportation system, a cleaner environment, new ways of communicating and an easier access to public services and cultural contents.
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