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With the AgID circular, the authority clarifies the scope of Italian regulations on the accessibility of websites under the so-called Stanca Law.
On January 5, 2023, Circular No. 3 of 2022 of the Agency for Digital Italy (AgID), was published in the Italian Official Gazette regarding the interpretative criteria on the scope of application of Law No. 4 of January 9, 2004 (the so-called Stanca Law), which had led many professionals to question whether or not they needed to comply with the obligations on the accessibility of websites, or not.
Scope of the Italian legislation on the accessibility of websites
But let’s take a step back. Decree-Law No. 76 of July 16, 2020, had extended the application of the accessibility obligations of the Stanca Law also to private entities that “(i) offer services to the public (ii) through websites or mobile applications (iii) with an average turnover, in the last three years of activity, of more than five hundred million euros,” which were required to comply by November 5, 2022.
However, prior to the publication of the Circular, it was unclear exactly what the scope of the Stanca Law was, and it seemed to include – and consequently, have to comply with – all private entities that offered their services, to an indeterminate group of users, through websites and mobile applications.
The Circular finally delimits the scope of application of the Stanca Law, also in light of Legislative Decree No. 82 of May 27, 2022, transposing the so-called Accessibility Act, applicable as of 2025. In particular, the Circular clarifies that individuals subject to accessibility obligations are providers of:
- websites and mobile applications;
- extranet and/or intranet content that is published on or after Sept. 23, 2019; and
- content that is on mobile devices for closed groups of users or used for certain contexts but used by a large number of users,
that offer services to the public, understood by AgID as the so-called essential services below: energy, gas, water, passenger transportation, postal services, courier activities, health and social welfare services, education services, garbage collection, electronic communications services, banking services, funeral services, veterinary services, live broadcast-based media services that are maintained online or republished after transmission and, more generally, pre-recorded time-based media published as of September 23, 2020, electronic commerce services having to do with “essential necessities,” i.e., those products without which a decent existence would not be possible.
To avoid further confusion, AgID also provides a number of examples of what should be meant by essential necessities (in this case, however, it is a non-exhaustive list): food and beverages, computer and telecommunications equipment, audio and video consumer electronics, and household appliances, tobacco, hardware, paint, electrical, and plumbing equipment, sanitary items, lighting articles, drugs, medical and orthopedic items, perfumery, toiletries, and personal hygiene items, optical and photographic materials, household and heating fuel, household hygiene products.
These regulations apply to groups with an annual average turnover during the previous 3 years of at least € 500 million and offer their services to an indefinite number of users. In this respect, the AgID circular clarifies that turnover is to be calculated with respect to the group, which “is considered a single enterprise.”
Obligations for entities
Entities to whom the provisions of the Stanca Law apply were required to comply by November 5, 2022. Specifically, these must:
- by September 23 of each year, complete the Accessibility Statement (the tool by which the accessibility status of each website and app is made public); and
- implement the technical requirements as required by the Accessibility Guidelines for Individuals and, in particular, the technical standards outlined in EN 301 549.
In case of violating the above obligations, the Stanca Law provides for the imposition of penalties of up to 5 percent of turnover.
On a similar topic, it is possible to read the article “New rules on European consumer sale and warranty terms effective from Jan 2022 need urgent actions“.
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