G20 Trieste, Colao on hackers: The public administration needs a security culture”

06.08.2021 – 18.00 – Colao reiterated his commitment to the establishment of a cybersecurity agency and national cloud.
While the first part of the G20 summit in Trieste focused on the concept of digital economy and the changes it brings, the second part focused on the concept of digital identity and its regulation, with a particular focus on sensitive data, which in recent years has become the most valuable “currency” of a connected world.
While the first part of the G20 Summit on 5 August focused on the economy, the second part dealt with digital governance and its consequences, particularly in the ethical field.
The G20 summit was held in the usual confidential setting, but at the end of the meetings, as with the speech by Minister Giorgetti, there was also a press event for the second part in the form of a meeting with the Minister of Technological Innovation and Digital Transition Vittorio Colao.
According to Colao, it was a very fruitful meeting that saw the transition from a task force that merely formulated studies and analyses to a real permanent group within the G20 that unanimously recognized the need for a new governance for the digital world.

The Minister identified three pillars of this initiative, namely the need for a single digital identity among the G20 countries; an area in which Italy already has a head start, with 45 million electronic identities in various systems and organizations.
Colao believes it is inevitable that this experience is extended and “spread” internationally.
In fact, he said, it is time to create international links, at least at the digital level. It is necessary, and this is the second pillar, to try to exchange experiences between nations, to share them, to see what is useful.
The third pillar must be a form of digital regulation, of course, a simple regulation, but still a form of control. Colao affirmed that “we cannot use the methods of the past”, but “we must be more agile and flexible”.
The journalists’ questions, declined on the occasion of the meeting with Giorgetti, focused on the possible threats to cybersecurity from Russia and China, to which the paradox of a G20 summit that considered them as guests and as such was difficult to criticize, emerged.

TGsky24 talked about the hacking attack in Lazio and asked when the government would reach zero risk in its infrastructure.
According to Colao, this is impossible considering that “risk is everywhere” and that these are “ransomware attacks” that affect millions of devices worldwide.
However, according to Colao, there are three possible measures that would allow hacking attacks to be dealt with: Moving to a national system while abandoning local networks, introducing a “security culture” in the public administration and increasing the use of cloud technology, which is better equipped to deal with this type of threat and data theft.
In this context, Colao explained how the government is working towards a rapid transition to the “national cloud”, a “cloud” for government data and services.
He wondered how the concept of digital identity could coexist without differences among all G20 countries, considering that many of them have a concept of “freedom” that is radically different from the European one.

According to Colao, we need to start at a regional level and gradually spread out; in any case, this should be seen as “an opportunity to work together”.
Asked by Corriere della Sera whether there would be differences between states in the application of these digital rules, Colao assured that there would be no new organizations responsible for enforcing these restrictions at the international level. Rather, he said, there would be discussions and a common ground would be found: After all, he said, the issue of digital identities is no different from that of a passport to cross a border and does not necessarily need to be discussed at such a “structural” level. Today, the Green Pass is another example of a digital identity that has been quickly adopted and overcomes national differences.
Talks at the G20 summit also touched on infrastructure, and in response to a question from Ansa, Colao confirmed investments in connectivity and ultra-broadband.

But how will digital security be strengthened? In response to this question from askanews, Colao announced that a real cybersecurity authority will be set up in Italy to ensure that citizens and businesses are “safe and secure”.
The new agency already has pre-allocated funds and plans to hire masses of young men and women: According to Colao, it is not the funds that are lacking, but rather the right infrastructures and skills. The new agency is supposed to determine how to use citizens’ sensitive data and put in place appropriate security procedures. According to Colao, it will only take six to twelve months to catch up with the backlog that has accumulated in the area of digital security over the past two years.

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