Information Technology Reference
In-Depth Information
The former are owned by both central and local PAs and are mostly deployed
within PA's local administrative boundaries. Application services are offered to
final end-users such as citizens and enterprises. Examples of these include all web-
based services, e-documents management, digital signatures, and, for example,
what in Italy is called certified e-mail, that is, a kind of e-mail that provides users
with guarantees on the actual sending and receiving (Petrucci, Gennai, Shahin, &
Vinciarelli, 2011).
The latter building block consists of the set of infrastructures and services that
are used to support secure connections and advanced interoperability and coop-
eration between PAs. It is through these infrastructures that technical, semantic,
and organizational interoperability, as defined by the European Interoperability
Framework (European Commission, 2010), can be ensured in SPC. The national
interoperability infrastructures can be further classified into three main categories:
infrastructures for governance, infrastructures for connectivity, and infrastructures
for applications.
In the context of this chapter, we focus our attention on a specific service that
falls into the infrastructures for applications category. The next subsection describes
this service in detail.
12.3.1 The IPA
The IPA is particularly relevant for all PAs. Introduced in 2000 by a President of
Council of Ministers Decree, the role of the IPA has been recently strengthened by
CAD. The IPA is clearly defined by CAD as the national registry within which PAs
are obliged, at least every 6 months, to include all those up-to-date data that are
necessary to establish a, possibly electronic, communication with legal value either
among PAs or between PAs and citizens/enterprises. The IPA can therefore be con-
sidered one of the pillars for enforcing interoperability and cooperation in the com-
plex e-government context formed by several heterogeneous central and local PAs.
Currently, the IPA includes such data as tax codes, e-mail and certified e-mail
addresses, postal addresses, fax numbers, and official web site URLs, as well as
people in charge and organizational structures (e.g., offices and departments) of
20,720 Italian PAs. These data are assuming a relevant role in the PA interoperabil-
ity and cooperation scenario: They are in fact used in other national base registries
to uniquely identify PAs (an example is the tax code, which is also used as identi-
fier in the PAs' territorial data base registry). In addition, with the introduction of
e-payments, the IPA is expected to become the main “hub” in which most interac-
tions between PAs will pass through.
Originally, the IPA was developed as a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol
(LDAP) (Wahl, Howes, & Kille, 1997) registry that could be queried using both
an LDAP and a web interface. However, due to the unfriendly nature of LDAP
protocol and syntax, the registry has been assisted over time by the well-known
relational database management system MySQL, to which access is via a dedicated
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