The approval of the new technical requirements applicable to digital signatures represent a major innovation that might ease the execution of international contracts and create opportunities for providers.
Digital signatures represent a major change in Italy since according to so called code for the digital government, they will have the same evidential value as written signatures for agreements that require such formality. And indeed if electronic documents are not going to be signed with digital signatures they will be deemed null and void provided that they fall among those documents that if in paper version need to executed in writing.
Given the fact that digital signatures replace hand-written signatures for electronic-format contract documents, very stringent technical requirements have been set out i.e. the mere name at the bottom of an email will not suffice. Such technical requirements for instance ensure the unalterability of documents and their connection with the person to whom the digital signature belongs.
This change might be beneficial for international transactions e.g. for multinational companies whose directors are often outside the country and Italy might lead other countries to implement similar tools becoming an example to follow within Europe. Moreover, they represent also an opportunity for digital signature providers also because as part of the so called digital agenda from the first of January 2013 it was prescribed that citizens shall have a digital domicile and all the communications between governmental authorities and citizens shall occur electronically.
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