Editorial Director: Giusella Finocchiaro
Web Content Manager: Giulia Giapponesi

posted by admin on maggio 9, 2016

digital identity

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Facebook will be accountable for fake profiles created on its platform and offer full cooperation and transparency. In the last few days the Italian DPA has published a provision from last February concerning a dispute between a well-known doctor from Perugia and Facebook Ireland Ltd. The complaint presented in November 2015 and originated from an attempt at extortion carried out on the pages of the famous social network.

The doctor had been the victim of activities amounting to threats, attempts at extortion, impersonation and the unlawful breaking into a computer system by a Facebook user, who, after requesting online friendship and obtaining acceptance from the doctor, started an “electronic correspondence with him, which at first was of a confidential nature, but which subsequently aimed to pursue criminal ends”. The criminal had created a fake account using photos and personal data of the Perugia doctor and had attempted to blackmail him with threats of sending obscene photomontages showing child pornography material to friends, acquaintances and colleagues. The doctor, who had not given in to these blackmail attempts, asked Facebook to take appropriate steps to eliminate the fake profiles and to provide him with all the relevant information necessary to limit as quickly as possible the damage suffered by his image.

According to the doctor’s lawyers, Facebook did not take the appropriate action on the matter, not granting satisfactory and complete access to the required data. In particular, Facebook simply made available through its “download tool” service a set of data, which were not clearly intelligible as they only referred to code numbers. Furthermore, the data set was incomplete as it simply referred to data from the claimant’s valid Facebook account and did not include data processed by the fake account and shared on the social network.

Therefore, the DPA established that Facebook Ireland Ltd, which is in possession of the information required by the doctor, must communicate “to the claimant in an intelligible form all data relating to him that are held with regard to the Facebook profiles opened in his name”. The social network must close down the fake profile in order to facilitate any possible investigation into establishing the identity of those responsible for the attempt at extortion.

Following the expiry of the thirty day term to comply with the DPA’s provisions, Facebook will have about two weeks to file opposition before the Court of Perugia, failing which the penalty will consist of a fine and up to two years’ imprisonment.



Digital identity management and trust services will be the main themes discussed at the colloquium convened by the Secretariat of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), that will take place on the 21st and 22nd of April 2016 at the Vienna International Centre.

During the meeting, Working Group IV on Electronic Commerce will focus its activity on legal issues related to identity management and trust services with a view to compiling information on the scope and methodology of future work in that area. The session will be attended by Full Professor Giusella Finocchiaro as President of the Working Group and representative of the Italian Government at UNCITRAL.

For further information please consult the section covering Working Group activities on UNCITRAL website.



posted by admin on giugno 20, 2015

digital identity

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On 10th June at the University of Bologna, a number of representatives of the UN Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) met with a group of academic experts and spokespersons representing the web corporations Google and AliBaba. The common goal of the meeting was to concentrate on identifying a basis for activating a shared process for defining global rules for online identification.

In her introduction, Giusella Finocchiaro, organizer of the event in her role as Full Professor at the University of Bologna and President of UNCITRAL Working Group lV on Electronic Commerce, emphasized that the “objective” aspect of identity was that which requires regulating first and foremost, namely what the law must guarantee in order to allow the formal recognition of individuals. A more detailed explanation on the difference between subjective and objective identity can be found in her presentation, which can be accessed HERE.

In Europe the problem of identification online has been solved with the European Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market. So, a single law for the 28 Member States, which has achieved the legal and technical interoperability of the electronic tools for identification, authentication and signature (eIDAS) in the countries of the European Union. Andrea Servida, from DG CONNECT, European Commission, Head of the eIDAS Task Force, outlined the principles of how it works in his address. His presentation can be downloaded HERE.

Eric A. Caprioli, attorney at the Court of Paris and member of the French delegation to the UNCITRAL Working Group on Electronic Commerce, stressed that the aim must be a single global system and not harmonization of the existing systems. With this in mind, the Group’s work should focus on defining a “model law” which sets out the basic minimum requirements for authentication, as it were, a lowest common denominator compatible with individual national legislative frameworks. His address is summed up in the presentation which can be downloaded HERE.

As mentioned by Xue Hong, Full Professor of law at Beijing Normal University, director of the Institute for BNU Internet Policy & Law (IIPL), digital identification on a global scale will have to take into account the new requirements which have emerged from the web, such as the purchase and sale of property and rights of an entirely digital nature, such as mailboxes, websites, virtual objects, copyright and so on. Her address examined this point in depth in THIS presentation.

Andrea Stazi, the head of Public Policy and Government Relations of Google Italy, underlined the need to predict the difficulties in managing digital identity in relation to the protection of privacy. However, Ala Musi, the China Electronic Commerce Association Policy & Law Committee Deputy Director of AliBaba, emphasized the importance of establishing the limits of legal responsibility of e-commerce platforms that operate worldwide. His presentation can be downloaded HERE.

The summing up by the Secretary of the UNCITRAL Working Group on Electronic Commerce, Luca Castellani, brought the conference to a close.

The Bologna meeting marked the beginning of a process of sharing of ideas by international experts on the issue of the regulation of digital identity on a global scale. The task of finding guidelines for a single system will now be put in the hands of the UNCITRAL Working Group.



10 June 2015 >  9.00 a.m. – 1.30 p.m.

The United Nations Working Group on Electronic Commerce Organizes in Bologna the Workshop “Open Issues on Electronic Commerce: the Digital Identity”

A meeting of experts to discuss the open issues on electronic identification in the context of electronic commerce. Two giants of the web, Google e AliBaba will also be taking part in the Workshop.

Legal experts and international specialists will meet up to take part in a United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Workshop

The international meeting “Open Issues on Electronic Commerce: the Digital Identity UNCITRAL Workshop” will be held at the Bologna Law School in Palazzo Malvezzi on the 10th of June 2015.

The event is organized by Full Professor Giusella Finocchiaro, President of Uncitral Working Group IV on Electronic Commerce and representative of the Italian Government at Uncitral. Among the workshop participants there will also be representatives of Google, AliBaba (the largest Chinese e-commerce corporation) and the ABA (American Bar Association).

The Digital Identity in the Electronic Commerce Era, an Open Issue

How can a person’s identity be verified on the Internet? This is the real question in this new phase of digitalization of identification services. For example, how does one open a bank account, interact with Public Administration, or take part in an on line public tender?

Digital Identification is a centrally important theme for the Uncitral Working Group, whose job is to draft joint international rules on electronic commerce.

The aim of the workshop is to bring together experts from the economic, institutional and academic worlds to focus on the still open issues in the field of On Line Identification, which will be dealt with by the Working Group in future United Nations Commission work sessions.

A Full Day’s Work

The Workshop will get underway with an opening address from the Rector of the University of Bologna, Ivano Dionigi and an introduction by Giusella Finocchiaro, Full Professor of Private Law and Internet Law at the University of Bologna, President of Uncitral Working Group IV on Electronic Commerce and Representative of the Italian Government at Uncitral.

The Workshop is organized in three sessions. The first will deal with the theme of Digital Identity according to the European prospective. The second will deal with the same theme from an international point of view. Finally, the third session will focus on the open issues on electronic commerce from the business point of view. The discussion will be closed by Luca Castellani, Secretary of Working Group IV (Electronic Commerce).

The Workshop, which is open to the public, will occupy the whole morning. The afternoon will be dedicated to a closed meeting to discuss the relevant findings of the Workshop.

The legal issues raised by electronic commerce are nowadays mainly settled. The conference will focus only on some new and still open issues of electronic commerce, as the digital identity. The speakers will address the theme from different perspectives, with a speech of 20 minutes each.A space for the discussion will be left at the end of each session.

The workshop will take place at the University of Bologna, Via Zamboni 22, Sala Armi (Bologna, ITALY).


  • Registration
    h. 8.30 a.m.
  • Opening Addresses
    h. 9.00-9.30 a.m.
    Ivano Dionigi – Rector of the University of Bologna
    Giovanni Berti Arnoaldi Veli – President of the Bologna Bar Association (to be confirmed)
    Nicoletta Sarti - President of the Bologna University Law School
    Giovanni Luchetti - Director of the Bologna University Department of Legal Studies
    Massimo Franzoni - Director of the Specialization School for Legal Professions of Bologna
  • Introduction
    h. 9.30-10.00 a.m.
    Giusella Finocchiaro – Full Professor of Private Law and Internet Law at the University of Bologna, Chair of the UNCITRAL Working Group on Electronic Commerce
  • The Digital Identity: the European Prospective
    h. 10.00-11.00 a.m.
    Eric A. Caprioli - Avocat à la Cour de Paris – Ph.D, Member of the French delegation at the UNCITRAL Working Group on Electronic Commerce
    Andrea Servida – Head of Task Force Legislation Team (eIDAS), European Commission
    Didier Gobert - Head of the Electronic commerce service, Public Federal Service Economy and trainer in ICT law – Belgium
  • The Digital Identity: the Global Prospective
    h. 11.00-12.00 a.m.
    Thomas J. Smedinghoff – Of Counsel in the Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice Group in the Chicago office of Locke Lord LLP; Chair of the Identity Management Legal Task Force of the American Bar Association
    Hong Xue – Full Professor of Law at Beijing Normal University (BNU), Director of BNU Institute for Internet Policy & Law (IIPL) and Co-Director of UNCITRAL-BNU Joint Certificate Program on International E-Commerce Law (JCP)
    Francesco Delfini – Full Professor of Private Law at the University of Milan
  • Open Issues on Electronic Commerce
    h. 12.00 a.m.-1.00 p.m.
    Andrea Stazi – Public Policy and Government Relations Manager at Google
    Ala Musi - China Electronic Commerce Association Policy & Law Committee Deputy Director, Alibaba
    Alberto M. Gambino – President of the Italian Academy of the Internet Code (IAIC), Full Professor of Private Law at the European University of Rome
  • Closing remarks
    h. 1.00 p.m.-1.30 p.m.
    Luca Castellani – Secretary of the Working Group IV (Electronic Commerce) UNCITRAL


Scientific Organizing Committee:

Giusella Finocchiaro

Matilde Ratti




posted by Giusella Finocchiaro on settembre 2, 2013

digital identity

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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.



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