The government of Italy will stop highlighting the importance of an open, interoperable ICT architecture. The government will no longer require the Agency for the Digitalisation of the Public Sector (Agenzia per l'Italia Digitale, AGID) to assess public administration’s ICT plans and it is also scrapping the publication and maintenance of a list of open ICT standards that are to be used by public administrations.
Upcoming changes to the Codice Amministrazione Digitale (Digital Administration Law) will scrap several paragraphs from Article 68. This article instructs public administrations to prioritise reusable, open source-based software solutions.
“This will be a huge step backwards”, says Carlo Piana, a lawyer specialised in free and open source software.
He protest against the changes, in a letter to Tech Economy, an Italian IT trade publication. Members of the Italian Parliament have also raised questions, but, says Piana: “I’m not entirely confident that this will change the government’s plans”.
Talking to the European Commission’s Open Source Observatory (OSOR), the lawyer added that he has used the soon to be scrapped articles in several legal cases, to successfully argue that public administrations should use interoperable ICT solutions. No longer requiring AGID to issue binding opinions on interoperability, or on the preference for reusable and open source software, will make protesting more difficult, he says. “The only alternative is to start an expensive administrative procedure. That will only be done for very large ICT procurements.”
In May this year AGID updated its page of open ICT standards. The page now only lists XBLR, a standard for exchanging business reporting.
AGID has yet to respond to an emailed request for comment.