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.