Italy to set up cybersecurity agency ahead of national cloud plan - draft

Optical fibre cables are seen in a telephone exchange in Rome
Optical fibre cables are seen in a telephone exchange in Rome, Italy December 20, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

ROME, June 9 (Reuters) - Italy is set to create a national agency responsible for fighting cyber attacks, a draft decree showed, as it presses ahead with plans to create a unified cloud infrastructure to increase security for public administration data storage.

Italy is among numerous European nations boosting their efforts to counter cyber risks, seen as a threat to their security and competitiveness in an increasingly networked world.

The decree, seen by Reuters, unifies under the prime minister's authority many aspects of digital security which are currently dispersed among several ministers and state bodies.

The general director and his deputy will be appointed for four years, the draft says. Their mandate can be renewed once.

The agency includes six departments and will initially be staffed with 300 people, growing to around 800 by 2027.

Italy's cabinet is expected to approve the decree this week, a political source said.

Italy's 2,500-page Recovery Plan sent to the European Commission in April envisaged new cloud technology for the public administration to increase security.

The plan, which sets out investments to be funded by Brussels, earmarked around 900 million euros ($1.10 billion) for the project, which Innovation Minister Vittorio Colao said last month would involve overseas tech companies.

U.S. tech companies Google (GOOGL.O), Microsoft (MSFT.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O) dominate the data storage industry, fuelling concerns in Europe over the risk of U.S. surveillance in the wake of the adoption of the U.S. CLOUD Act of 2018.

The government plans to set up the new cloud infrastructure through a public-private partnership (PPP), to be implemented by a European tender, Italy's Recovery Plan said.

($1 = 0.8190 euros)

Editing by Gavin Jones and Bernadette Baum

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