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Liberalised wi-fi and online health records: Italy unwraps Decreto del Fare plan

A new decree will see big changes to how Italy handles e-government, as well as how public wi-fi is provided.
Written by Cristina Prina Ricotti, Contributor

In Italy, you'd be forgiven for starting to suspect there are thinktanks that exist solely to choose the best name for every new government initiative. The country's prime minister, Enrico Letta — currently trying to negotiate a delicate balancing act with his unstable coalition — recently launched the Decreto del Fare, which loosely translates as the "Decree of Doing". Now the question is: doing what?

The decree has 80 key points aimed at guiding Italy's economy out of its current doldrums. For the tech-oriented, the main news has been the liberalisation of wi-fi networks and the so-called "digital domicile".

The changes to wi-fi mean that there is now no longer a need for those that provide internet access — such as cafes – to ask for users' ID. Meanwhile, the introduction of the digital domicile sees Italian bureaucracy moving toward the cloud, with Italians' documentation — such as health and ID records — becoming digitised.

Electronic health records will also be implemented in all of Italy's autonomous regions and provinces by December 2013, with digital prescriptions introduced in the country subsequently.

Furthermore, in a country burdened by paperwork, the new decree opens up the possibility of registering births and deaths, and payments to public administrations online, through a simplified system.

Of course, the question remains how this will all happen, and most importantly when. With a number of steps between the publication of a decree and its actual implementation, it's not yet known when the Decreto del Fare's provisions will actually take effect.

The decree, the full details of which emerged last week, will go forward alongside Italy's revolutionised Digital Agenda — an initiative designed to stimulate Italy's growth through a series of tech-based measures, now being overseen by the recently-appointed Francesco Caio.

The Digital Agenda has its own overloaded waters to negotiate: as well as being presided over by Caio and the prime minister or his representative, a regional president, a mayor and six ministers are also involved in steering its course.

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