For a Human-Centered AI

Digital infrastructure for citizens and businesses

May 23, 2024

The Autonomous Province of Trento as a cutting-edge laboratory in Europe for digital public infrastructure

The meeting, organized by the Fondazione Hub Innovazione Trentino (HIT) and entitled “Digital Infrastructure for Citizens and Businesses,” was held today at Fondazione Caritro as part of the Trento FESTIVAL OF ECONOMICS.

The speakers who led the discussion were the Councilor for Economic Development, Labor, University and Research of the Autonomous Province of Trento; Franco Accordino (European Commission); Felipe González-Zapata (OECD – Digital Government and Data); Andrea Simoni (Secretary General at Fondazione Bruno Kessler); Maurizio Fatarella (General Director of PagoPA), Andrea De Maria (Head of Innovation Management – Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato). Sole 24 Ore journalist Pierangelo Soldavini moderated the debate.

The topic of the discussion was Digital Public Infrastructures (DPI), which for the past year has been at the center of the international agenda for a digital transformation that focuses on open protocols, standards and solutions, and which represents an approach that can create the ideal conditions for the growth of public and private digital services, with fair and inclusive access for the entire population.

During the meeting, the councillor for economic development, labor, university and research stressed that the province is committed to creating an environment conducive to the sustainable development of the local area through the PA semplice project, a local efficient and integrated administrative digital ecosystem, with a network among PAs that will speed up procedures, minimize bureaucracy, enhance data, and be able to better meet the needs of citizens and businesses even anticipating their requests, as an agent of change. On these issues and the innovative projects underway – think of the use of AI in PA and the European Wallet – added value is certainly also provided by the synergies in place with local players and the research system.

In his contribution, Franco Accordino (European Commission) spoke about the European Digital Wallet as a key tool for European citizens and businesses, recalling the importance of ongoing pilot projects and the countless benefits the Wallet would bring in terms of digital inclusionsecurity of digital services and economic and social growth. “The European Digital Wallet needs to be framed within a broader framework of digital infrastructure for innovation and competitiveness, including high-performance networks, edge clouds, supercomputing and artificial intelligence, without which the digitization process of public services cannot be fully accomplished.  Therefore, there is a need to invest in connectivity infrastructure and digital capabilities, including cloud nodes, data spaces and precisely, digital identity management systems, moving from the pilot project phase to production systems.”

Andrea Simoni recalled FBK‘s role on DPI: “Fondazione Bruno Kessler is at the forefront of European technology infrastructure, contributing significantly to the realization of the major project called the EU Data Union, an ambitious initiative in which people can benefit from pooling their data securely and transparently. Through initiatives such as the Test and Experimentation Facility (TEF) and the European Digital Infrastructure Consortium (EDIC), we are creating platforms that facilitate innovation and collaboration between businesses and institutions, promoting the growth of an advanced and integrated digital ecosystem. Secure and transparent data management is a key priority for us. ” Citizens and businesses must be able to trust European digital solutions, and the Digital Wallet is a significant step to achieve this. FBK plays a key role in this context, ensuring that the technologies developed meet the highest standards of security and privacy, protecting personal and business data and building an environment of mutual trust.”

Maurizio Fatarella focused on PagoPA‘s role as a key interlocutor on DPI at the national level, which can now bring its expertise to the European level as well, leveraging the robustness of the platforms it develops and manages as a concrete, working example of DPI. “The concept of DPI follows the vision with which PagoPA, already for four years, has been helping to build the infrastructure ecosystem on which the digital transition of the Italian public sector is based today. We manage solutions that are in the hands of millions of citizens and that, therefore, require us to operate from a multichannel and inclusive perspective. The choice of architectures based on open, secure and scalable standards that are able to work in an interconnected manner allows us to ensure a simplified experience for entities and citizens throughout the local area. The results we record on platforms such as pagoPA and app IO are testimony to the success of this model, which is producing efficiency, innovation and value for all players in the ecosystem, while respecting people’s rights and freedom. An approach already recognized as an international best practice that we are applying today, together with other partners, to develope what will be the next DPI: the Digital Wallet.”

Andrea De Maria (IPZS) pointed out that digital infrastructures need a layer of trust, and providing assurance on behalf of the government is precisely the mission of Poligrafico.  Together with FBK, the Poligrafico ensures the digital identity of citizens with “Entra con CIE” first, and with Wallet now by implementing the entire trust component of the system. “To secure identity and identity attributes, Poligrafico has designed and will develop security protocols that are based on widespread use of cryptography, open standards, making interoperability possible. All on an IT infrastructure specifically designed to ensure continuity of service and high performance.”

Felipe González-Zapata (OECD) remarked that DPI is an essential mechanism for inclusion in the digital age, enabling access to public and private services through reliable systems.  “A more strategic approach to DPI has become a priority for OECD countries and is increasingly important in the G7 and G20 agendas.  It is not just about having DPIs, but also about building them well and making the most of them. This implies governance systems and investment fit for purpose, requires capacity to develop and deploy DPIs in a manner that will ensure a human-centered approach and promote interoperability and mutual recognition within and across borders.  These principles are at the heart of the OECD Recommendation on Digital Identity Governance, a key tool to support the current Italian G7 Presidency.”


The author/s