On technology and digital, parties spend few words

On technology and digital, parties spend few words

On technology and digital

A little less than a month before the political elections to be held on 25 September, for the first time in the autumn due to the early dissolution of the Chambers last July, the major Italian political forces have begun to publish their electoral programs.

A single month of electoral campaign is a limited time and this has certainly undermined the writing of the intentions of the parties, summarized in very general programs and which will probably be integrated in the coming weeks. At the moment, for example, there are also no proposals from individual parties such as Forza Italia and Fratelli d'Italia, for now within the center-right coalition program.

Topics present in all political programs, with greater or lesser weight, are climate change and environmental sustainability, employment, immigration, justice, rights and taxation. Unlike the environment and the climate, which assume a status of greater importance in the programs, little importance has been given instead to the increasing implications deriving from the use of artificial intelligence, digital surveillance and in general to the macro theme of technology in the various sectors of society.

Democratic Party Possible Popular Union Movimento 5 Stelle Lega Right-wing coalition + Europe Italy Viva-Action Verdi-Italian Left There is a bill to suspend the use of facial recognition cameras in Italy Democratic Party Il Piano Italia 2027, which proposes Letta's party, is based on three pillars which also include the theme of rights and citizenship. In a paragraph, the Pd rattles off some crucial issues in the European debate on technology and artificial intelligence: we talk about the "right of people to express themselves freely in a secure digital space", and a guarantee of transparency and full control over data and this that users post on online platforms.

Despite the introduction of a moratorium against the installation of cameras equipped with facial recognition by the Municipalities, expiring in December 2023, the Democratic Party is limited to defining a generic commitment against the abuse of artificial intelligence and big data, for the prohibition of tracking and biometric recognition of citizens in public places as well as scoring systems based on personal data. The party's position with regard to gig economy workers, which in the electoral program is defined by the need to anticipate European legislation by ensuring the transparency of the algorithms used in this sector of work, and to empower the platforms, is clearer, although not very concrete. in the definition of an employment relationship, although the Ministry of Labor did little to advance these rights in the months in which the dem Andrea Orlando was at the helm. The Democratic Party is also the only party that proposes the use of "modern" blockchain technology, but does not specify exactly the uses.

Possible The party, which is a candidate in the Green and Left Alliance list, was founded in 2015 by Giuseppe Civati ​​and publishes an 85-page program with which it stands out from the other parties in its approach to the technological issue. Cybersecurity, privacy, surveillance and data protection are discussed in the workplace but also at school, with a clear reference to distance learning. The program also features the theme of online anonymity, as a "right to be protected against any possible authoritarianism", surveillance capitalism (with consequent profiling of citizens), the impact of proprietary digital platforms and the use of free software and open source especially in the public sector. In line with the Democratic Party, Possible also puts on the plate the fight against mass surveillance and biometric video surveillance, which it calls for a ban throughout Europe. The program also mentions the promotion of government transparency through the use of open data, and the protection of whistleblowers.

Although laudable, also in this case - as seen for the programs of all political forces - Possible's intentions are not represented by the adoption of specific actions or political commitments. The most concrete promise is that relating to the adoption of the Estonian "once only" principle, which requires citizens to share their identification data with the public administration only once. In Estonia, in this way it is possible to access online practically all the services offered by the public sector, significantly limiting travel and the continuous need for identification of the citizen. "The once only principle would be good and feasible, but exposed in this way does not mean much. Its success depends on how it is implemented and if it is the citizen who from time to time agrees to the sharing of his data, and for transparent purposes. vice versa, a large repository of citizens' data is assumed, without guarantees and limits, made available to the Public Administration for purposes of public interest, then it will be a disaster ", comments Carlo Blengino, criminal lawyer and expert in the law of new technologies. Blengino's reference is to the Capacity Decree introduced last year, with which the outgoing government has touched on various aspects of the protection of personal data by modifying the Privacy Code and weakening the Guarantor Authority.

In defense of the anonymity on the internet Popular union After the online announcement a few days ago, also the very young formation represented by the former mayor of Naples Luigi De Magistris and made up of leftist movements and parties including DeMa, manifestA, Rifondazione Comunista and Potere al Popolo will be present on the ballot papers of next September 25th. In the program published by Up, however, there is no reference to the macro-theme of technology, neither in the work sector nor in the school or public sector.

5 Star Movement Giuseppe Conte, head of the pentastellata political force, proposes a program in synthesis, in which the party deals with the key issues by points. In the paragraph For a digital and modern country there are six proposals in the field of new technologies, they touch various fields and are quite general. The movement proposes the drafting of a charter of digital rights, to recognize internet access as a constitutional right and guarantee national coverage through an ultra-broadband. It is good to remember that in July 2014 a Study Commission for Internet rights and duties, set up in Parliament and which also included Stefano Rodotà, has already published a Declaration of Internet Rights. A document created with a soft law function, not legally binding but to address any possible intervention by the legislator on the subject. Furthermore, from March 2021, with a broader view, the European Commission is working to define the European model for the digital decade that will be concluded at the end of the summer.

As regards ultra-broadband, another point proposed by the Five stars, a strategic plan in this sense was already activated in 2016 by Infratel Italia, an in-house company of the Ministry of Economic Development (Mise). By announcing three tenders, through which the country was divided regionally, the works began between July and November 2017 and April 2019. According to data provided by the Bul portal, activated by Mise in June 2020 to track updates, at the end in July the municipalities with finished work are 3,416 (out of 6,232). 45% of the Italian provinces are covered by the ultra-broadband.

The 5 stars also propose a national digital database, without explaining too much, however, how citizens can use it to verify the use of their personal data. A not too specific reference is also to the digitization of the public sector, to startups and innovative companies, to the school sector and, in general, to an industrial plan that involves the use of various technologies (fintech, digital currencies, web3, semiconductors , metaverse), thus scattered without a complete meaning.

Lega technology recurs 18 times: in the field of nuclear power and energy development, sustainable mobility and freight transport (through the so-called “internet of goods”, all to be explained). A very general article on cybercrime is then included in the discourse on national security, identified as a challenge "that our country must be able to face after delays accumulated over the years".

Urban security is also of great importance in the League's program, which is expressed, in line with the security decrees of recent years, through the concepts of participatory and integrated security. These promote an idea of ​​security that involves local authorities, mayors and local law enforcement agencies: on this point, the League is planning to strengthen the sharing of national and local data and video surveillance tools, as well as non-specific "technological tools". On this point, it is useful to remember that the Ministry of the Interior, through the urban security fund wanted by the former Minister Salvini, finances the municipal administrations on the subject of video surveillance as early as 2017. Last July, the Interior Ministry allocated 13.5 million euros for the Safe Beaches, Safe Lakes and Safe Schools projects: in the circulars published, ample reference is made, in most cases, to the financing of municipal video surveillance projects. The program envisages an annual increase in the fund dedicated to this purpose from 65 million to 100 million euros.

On the issue of traceability of financial flows, the party also proposes the inclusion of a rule in the security package aimed at monitoring, among other things, the dark web. There are no specifics on the objectives of this activity, if not the danger inherent in forms of invasive surveillance.

Digital education, digital public administration and digital identity are instead the actions that Salvini's League attributes to the Ministry of Technological innovation. Also in the Northern League program, mention is made of the Estonian concept of "once only" for public bodies, and the need to introduce artificial intelligence in the public sector in order to automate decision-making processes "based on simple yes / no choice procedures. ", Especially in the field of contracts and public procurement. All by linking the existing public databases. Another unclear wording and with inherent risks.

Right coalition In the program document of the right coalition, which unites Forza Italy, Lega, Fratelli d'Italia and Noi moderati, the need to strengthen the safe roads operation as well as the use and implementation of video surveillance is mentioned. administration, but without specific objectives and actions.

How video surveillance in municipalities is financed in Italy + Europe Emma Bonino's party does not set out specific intentions regarding a possible regulation on the use of artificial intelligences, databases or the privacy of citizens' personal data. Through the programmatic document it is hoped for greater competence in terms of digital security both for public workers and for users of the services that public offices provide, and the strengthening of structures and programs in the field of cybersecurity.

Italia Viva-Action Carlo Calenda and Matteo Renzi present themselves in the political elections with a program that does not approach the technological issue. With regard to security, especially in terms of international terrorism, the program mentions the opposition to mass surveillance, defined as an ineffective tool in combating the phenomenon. On the contrary, the parties are pressing on the adoption of personal measures against subjects subject to the control of the police, who should be guaranteed better material and digital tools.

Verdi-Italian Left Green Europe and Italian Left they are opposed to the mere purchase of technologies or the construction of infrastructures for the development of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which should be carried out jointly by a social government. In very broad terms, technology also returns to the theme of the fight against tax evasion, where parties promote the use of electronic money, traceability of payments and electronic invoicing.

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