Italian Law decree n. 69/2013, art. 17-ter, provides for establishing a public digital identity management system for both companies and private citizens. The system is known as SPID (Sistema Pubblico per la gestione dell’Identità Digitale).
The new provision modifies art. 64 of the Italian Code for digital administration.
Following the arrival of the SPID system, should identity controls be required, public administration will only be able to grant on line access if identity is certified by either electronic identity card or national service card or by means of SPID.
Public administration may also choose to adopt alternative systems to verify user identity providing these systems are capable of identifying users requesting their services.
Therefore, the choice of system is left to the discretion of public administration.
The law decree provides that companies may also choose to use the SPID system to manage the digital identity of their users.
The so-called “advanced electronic signature” plays a leading role on the Italian market today.
It has recently been reintroduced into Italian legislation, with the latest version of the so-called “Digital Administration Code”, (Codice dell’amministrazione digitale -CAD), D. lgs. 7.3. 2005, n. 82 as modified by D. Lgs. 30.12.2010, n. 235.
Despite its name, the Code applies to both private and public bodies.
With regard to electronic signatures, the Code provides for a new kind of signature defined as the advanced electronic signature, which will be the fourth kind after the qualified, digital and electronic signatures. The definition of the advanced electronic signature is the same as Directive 1999/93/EC.
According to EU directive 93/1999 on electronic signatures the advanced electronic signature is defined as “an electronic signature which meets the following requirements:
[a] it is uniquely linked to the signatory;
[b] it is capable of identifying the signatory;
[c] it is created using means that the signatory can maintain under his sole control; and
[d] it is linked to the data to which it relates that any subsequent change of the data is detectable”.
According to Italian legislation, the advanced electronic signature, the qualified signature and the digital signature all satisfy legal requirements to the same degree, except for a few cases (concerning contracts regarding real estate). All of these signatures may have the same legal value as a hand-written signature.
The most interesting use of the advanced electronic signature in Italy is the handwritten signature on tablets, which is currently in use in many Italian banks.
The new version of the so-called Digital Administration Code (CAD) is the latest set of laws resulting from a lengthy legislative process started in 1997 that has produced several different statutes over the years. As is well known, Italy was the first European country to provide itself in 1997 with legislation regarding the digital signature, while the European Directive concerning the electronic signature dates from 1999.
Despite its name, the Code applies to both private and public bodies. Its principle new points are the following.
As stated in article no. 5-bis of the new CAD, communications between public and private bodies should be transmitted exclusively through digital devices. This is a long-awaited norm which goes in the direction of digitalization in public administration.
Complicated new distinctions have been introduced between copies and duplicates from digital to paper versions and viceversa.
With regard to electronic signatures, the new Code provides for a new kind of signature defined as the advanced electronic signature, which will be the fourth kind after the qualified, digital and electronic signatures. The definition of the advanced electronic signature is the same as Directive 1999/93/EC. The advanced electronic signature, the qualified signature and the digital signature all satisfy legal requirements to the same degree. All of these signatures may have the same legal value as a hand-written signature.
The possibility of certifying the storage process has also been introduced.
The new version of the Code came into force on 25th of January 2011. However, one can easily imagine that this will not be the definitive version of the Code in that it contains a number of errors which will require correction. Moreover, a technical regulation will need to be provided.