Law no. 36/2011, of 21 June

Assembleia da República (Assembly of the Republic)


Establishes the adoption of open standards in the information technology systems of the State

Under the terms of sub-paragraph c) of article 161 of the Constitution, the Assembly of the Republic decrees the following:

Article 1

The present law establishes the adoption of open standards for information in digital format in Public Administration, promoting the technological freedom of citizens and organisations and the interoperability of the information technology systems of the State.

Article 2
Scope of application

The present law applies to:

a) Sovereign bodies;
b) Central public administration services, including decentralised public institutes and services of the State;
c) Regional public administration services;
d) State corporate sector.

Article 3

1 - For the effect of the present law, an «open standard» is defined as a technical standard covering the publication, transmission and storage of information in digital format which cumulatively meets the following requirements:

a) Its adoption results from a decision-making process which is open and available to the participation of all stakeholders;
b) The respective specification document has been published and is freely available, with its copy, distribution and use being permitted, without restrictions;
c) The respective specification document is not incident on undocumented actions or processes;
d) The intellectual property rights applicable to it, including patents, have been provided in an integral, irrevocable and irreversible manner to the Portuguese State;
e) There are no restrictions to its implementation.

2 - For the effect of the present law, «interoperability» is defined as the capacity of two or more systems, namely computers, means of communication, networks, software and other information technology components, to interact and exchange data in accordance with a defined method in order to obtain expected results.

Article 4
Use of open standards

1 - All processes of implementation, licensing or evolution of information technology systems in Public Administration mandatorily establish the use of open standards, pursuant to the regulation mentioned in the following article.

2 - The application of open standards is compulsory for all text documents in digital format which are issued, inter-exchanged, filed or published by the Public Administration.

3 - Under the terms of the present law, no text document in digital format, presented by natural or legal persons to the Public Administration may be refused, ignored or returned based on the fact of being issued using open standards.

Article 5
National Regulation on Digital Interoperability

1 - The National Regulation on Digital Interoperability, hereinafter designated Regulation, defines the standards and digital formats which should be adopted by the Public Administration.

2 - The Regulation covers the following areas:

a) Data formats, including codes of characters, sound and image formats (fixed and animated), audiovisual formats, graphic and pre-printing data;
b) Document formats (structured and non-structured) and management of contents, including documental management;
c) Web interface technologies, including accessibility, ergonomics, compatibility and integration of services;
d) Protocols regarding streaming or transmission of sound and animated images in real time, including the transport and distribution of contents and point-to-point services;
e) Electronic mail protocols, including access to contents and extensions and instant message services;
f) Geographical information systems, including cartography, digital records, topography and modelling;
g) Communication standards and protocols in information technology networks;
h) Security standards for networks, services, applications and documents;
i) Standards and protocols regarding integration, data exchange and orchestration of business processes in inter-body integration.

3 - The Agency for Administrative Modernisation is responsible for the preparation of the Regulation, with the duty of cooperation of the other Public Administration bodies.

4 - The Regulation will be presented within the period of 90 days after the entry into force of the present law and submitted to a public discussion process for a period of 30 days.

5 - The Regulation establishes the deadlines for the application of the open standards provided for therein.

6 - The Regulation will be approved through resolution of the Council of Ministers and should be reviewed at least every three years or whenever justified by the evolution of the open standards.

Article 6
Exemption conditions

1 - In the event of the impossibility of the use of open standards established in the regulations of the present law, the entities referred to in sub-paragraphs a) and c) of article 2 should notify this fact to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

2 - In the event of the impossibility of the use of open standards established in the regulations of the present law, the entities referred to in sub-paragraphs b) and d) of article 2 should request the prior and binding opinion of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, laying the grounds for this impossibility, attaching the assessment of the defended solution to the proceedings.

3 - The opinion established in the previous number should verify if there is no open format in the type of document, information or data which are intended to be handled and/or produced, and also assess:

a) If there is already an advanced development project for an open type of solution; and
b) If the proposed format or proprietary protocol is based on a completely documented specification.

4 - The communications and opinions referred to in the previous numbers should be published on a portal to be created by the Government, which should present the modality and motives of the exemption, as well as the risks associated to the use of the chosen format.

5 - The exemption conditions will be reassessed periodically, in the context of and in accordance with the process of review of the Regulation established in the previous article.

Article 7
Supervision and technical support

1 - The Agency for Administrative Modernisation is responsible for monitoring, supervising and coordinating the technical support for the implementation of and compliance with the present law.

2 - For the effect of the provisions in the previous number, the Agency for Administrative Modernisation presents and publishes the Annual Report on Digital Interoperability in digital format.

Article 8
Transition period

The entities referred to in article 2 should ensure compliance with the deadlines for the adoption of the open standards established in the regulations of the present law.

Article 9
Public contracting

All and any contracting acts promoted by the Public Administration that lay down the exclusion of open standards, established in the Regulation are null and void.

Article 10
Entry into force

The present law will enter into force 90 days after its publication.

Approved on 6 April 2011.
The President of the Assembly of the Republic, Jaime Gama.
Promulgated on 19 May 2011.

To be published.
The President of the Republic, ANÍBAL CAVACO SILVA.
Counter-signed on 20 May 2011.

The Prime-Minister, José Sócrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa.