A Path to Puerto Rico’s Digital Government




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The Puerto Rico Innovation & Technology Service, created by Act 75- 2019, is the government office in charge of overseeing and implementing technology across the Executive Branch. The office’s mission is to create a new and innovative government framework, consistent with the demands of the 21st century, and capable of transforming internal processes while meeting citizens’ expectations and adhering to modern standards. PRITS’ specialized personnel provide service to agencies, municipalities, and public corporations by engaging in collaborations between public and private sector, academia, and other local organizations.

Nannette Martínez, CIIO & PRITS Executive Director

Following Governor Pierluisi’s public policy and vision of a digital government that enables transparency, PRITS created Puerto Rico’s first open data repository, as well as a dashboard displaying the government’s emergency efforts, deployed during hurricane Fiona to keep citizens informed during and after the disaster. These web-based services include public-facing information related to utilities, public safety, housing services, and critical infrastructure, among other data cards.

Regarding data protection, PRITS has also implemented a cybersecurity program with controls to ensure that government assets and citizen data are protected. For the first time in history, the Government of Puerto Rico has a security operations center (SOC) which includes monitoring and information sharing agreements with entities such as MS-ISAC, as well as federal agencies like the FBI and CISA. This has prevented thousands of cybersecurity threats from escalating into severe attacks and potential data breaches.

Ensuring digital assets are protected has enabled PRITS to zoom in on innovative projects, such as the CESCO Digital mobile app, developed initially by students from the University of Puerto Rico and updated by PRITS. CESCO Digital simplifies and expedites DMV transactions, such as accessing and renewing driver’s licenses, paying fees, and transferring vehicle ownership, among others.

In 2021, PRITS created a vaccination credential, known as Vacu-ID, within the CESCO Digital app, centralizing and leveraging databases from the Department of Health and the Department of Transportation, and causing a dramatic increase of downloads and usage. In 2022, thanks to a collaboration with the LifeLink Foundation, CESCO Digital also began enabling organ donor registration, and more features related to tolls and local navigation are in the pipeline. Today, over 2.3 million users (approximately 80% of Puerto Rican citizens) use the app.

Since the development of CESCO Digital, PRITS has followed up with other, new centralized technology. The best and most significant example is IDEAL, an interoperability engine that connects government agency databases, in order to streamline processes between them and improve the service they offer citizens. Today IDEAL is reducing the time spent by Puerto Ricans getting compliance certifications in agencies such as the Department of Treasury, the Department of State, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Labor and Human Resources, by providing all of them digitally through one secure, web-based platform.

More recently, PRITS has collaborated with the Office for the Administration and Transformation of Human Resources by creating, a web app that centralizes and displays jobs available in central government, public corporations, and municipalities. For the first time, becoming a public servant is possible through a streamlined, online platform, where anyone can search and apply with a few clicks.

PRITS’s focus on the creation of new technology goes beyond updating legacy systems and protecting critical infrastructure, translating into further innovations and creating a better foundation for the economic development of Puerto Rico as a whole. The technical outlook of the Island is promising, to say the least, all thanks to the innovators who are dedicated to upgrading government for a digital world.

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