Source should be public

Italy’s Team Digitale urges use of technological principles in ICT procurement


The Digital Transformation Team of the Italian government is calling on buyers and sellers of public sector ICT solutions to apply 16 technological principles, including the use of open ICT standards and making available source code as open source. ‘Team Digitale’ hopes to get all of Italy’s procurers and ICT solution vendors to agree.

The appeal was published on 4 September. It is written by Diego Piacentini, the head of Team Digitale, and Paolo De Rosa, one of the team’s IT experts. They want the principles to “define the relationship between technology providers and public administrations”.

The image shows the headline of the Appeal and the first paragraph, it is a screenshot from the website

The two prominent reformers of government ICT hope that their appeal will prompt procurers and ICT solutions vendors to improve their behaviour. Italy already has good laws on ICT in the public sector, notably the Codice dell’amministrazione digitale (Digital Administration Code), “which is probably one of the most up-to-date but less respected by the public sector.” That these rules are not applied shows that laws alone are not enough, write Piacentini and De Rosa. “Let’s try another way and add a series of principles,” they say.

One of the principles calls for the publication of source code with an open source licence. This openness will improve flexibility and accountability, Team Digitale explains. The transformation team wants procurers to request source code and intellectual property for software developed for the public sector to be made public. Availability of the software source code should be announced on the website of ‘Developers Italia’, the software development team created by Team Digitale.

No response yet

They are also calling on procurers to request the use of open ICT standards and open APIs (application programming interface, which define communication between ICT components).

From the start, the appeal has been shared with Consip, a government-owned company that support public services with procurement, De Rosa told the European Commission’s Open Source Observatory (OSOR). “There is not yet an official response from Consip. However, they have retweeted our announcement,” De Rosa said. In addition, a few big vendors of IT solutions have already responded privately, he adds, and others left comments on the Team’s forum. “The appeal has only just been published,” he said. “It is still early.”

More information:

Team Digitale’s 16 principles (in Italian)
OSOR news item

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