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ICT4Law Regione Piemonte

ICT4Law: ICT Converging on Law: Next Generation Services for Citizens, Enterprises, Public Administration and Policymakers

ICT4Law is a 3 years Converging Technologies Project financed by Regione Piemonte and started on 20 March 2009.

Law in contemporary society is becoming a complex variable: several actors within the national legal order have to cope with an increasingly more supranational complex jurisdiction, such as EU multi-level and multi-language law.

This situation requires more and more resources and expertise to be managed by:

  1. Citizens and enterprises requiring services (e.g., how to get healthcare tax exemption from public offices or how to open credit lines with banks) need to know the details of procedures to be fulfilled in order to receive such services, who is accountable in case of criticalities and which norms regulate them. Thus, public administrations and credit institutions must offer trustable back office procedures and update them according to law changes along time.
  2. Enterprises having to plan how to adapt their strategies to changes in law, in public financing programs and in unexpected events under the insurance profile. Nowadays no formal and adaptive instrument can support this process due to the complexity of the functioning of firms, especially considering the risk management issues.
  3. During the legislative process, the Regulatory Impact Assessment has to be performed before enacting laws and consolidating provisions. This is rarely advantageous since it is a costly and uncertain task which cannot rely on information technology yet.
  4. Policy makers have to evaluate the "popularity" of laws among citizens, to foresee their impact during drafting and to simplify and to make laws more understandable. Relying on explicit surveys is costly and collects biased information.

This project will address these related issues by developing beyond state of the art ICT and applying them to the legal field to build the core of a new generation of services.These technologies will stem from the convergence of ICT methodologies developed in the area of cognitive science, in particular:

  • Knowledge representation methodologies, like ontologies, used in knowledge management, e-commerce, in the semantic web and service oriented computing.
  • Automated analysis of natural language, to access unstructured information daily put online by users by exploiting Web 2.0 technologies.
  • Autonomous agents, programs which are built on the basis of a cognitive model of human reasoning.
  • Agent-based simulation which adopts the simulative method of cognitive science and apply it to the complexity of social and economic reality.
  • Neural networks and statistical techniques to analyse quantitative data. This project will increase the correlation of interdisciplinary research in Piedmont, focusing on the strategic topic of dealing with social complexity, aiming at networking with national and international research centres.

The goal is to develop a technology that can be reused in new domains of inherent similar complexity, e.g., corporate internal organisation, access to multilingual digital libraries, monitoring popularity of consumer products.

This project will apply the newly developed technologies in a synergic way to build a platform of services to support different kinds of users when dealing with legal aspects:

  1. Formalization of procedures regulated by norms, to allow monitoring, logging, reasoning and compliance verification.
  2. Norm consolidation process with automatic recognition of norm modifications and construction of temporal databases to reason about the validity of norms along time.
  3. Automatic extraction of opinions about current norms from blogs, newsgroups and forums.
  4. Multilingual legal ontologies for the semantic indexing and retrieval of legal documents at the regional, national or European level.
  5. Agent-based simulation of enterprises to make predictions about the effects of new norms on the activity of enterprises in selected markets.
  6. Adaptive tools for businesses in order to identify compliance related incidents, accelerate correct decisions, reduce risk.