What is digital citizenship? Why is there so much talk about it? Digital citizenship refers to the set of rights and duties that, thanks to the support of a series of services and tools (identity, domicile, digital signatures, the Public Digital Identity System) aims to simplify the relationship between citizens, businesses and public administration through digital technologies.
This is an articulated theme governed by various regulations and updates, up to the Digital Citizenship Charter. This establishes the right of citizens and businesses - 'also through the use of information and communication technologies - to access all data, documents and services of interest to them in digital form, in order to guarantee simplified access to personal services and reduce the need for physical access to public offices'.
The first version of the Digital Administration Code dates back 13 years and, after numerous adjustments necessary to keep pace with the rapid technological evolution that characterises our societies, it is now in its sixth version. It lists the rights and duties that already characterise the relationship between citizens, businesses and the public administration and identifies the legal bases for new tools and services to strengthen existing ones.
To sum up, we can say that digital citizenship is a useful tool to guarantee inclusion, cohesion and development of political communities, and that it has three components: belonging, rights and duties, and participation.
For the Council of Europe, digital citizenship is "the ability to participate actively, continuously and responsibly in the life of the community (local, national, global, online and offline) at all levels (political, economic, social, cultural and intercultural)". The digital citizen is the "person who possesses the competences for democratic culture to be able to engage competently and positively with evolving digital technologies; to participate actively, continuously and responsibly in social and civic activities; to be involved in a lifelong learning process; and to be committed to upholding human rights and dignity".
For the European Union, 'digital citizenship is a set of values, skills, attitudes, knowledge and critical understanding that citizens need in the digital age. A digital citizen knows how to use technologies and is able to interact with them in a competent and positive way'.