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.