“Over the past years, the Italian government implemented several new online public services such as Administration portals G2G (Government to Government) and G2B online portals (from Government to Business). Moreover, in the last couple of years, these telematic websites such as “OpenCoesione” and “CampoGiovani” have been used quite a lot by myself. However, the most important and yet the most popular online service in Italy that I have made use of is surely the “certified electronic mail” (in Italian Posta Elettronica Certificata).
The Posta Elettronica Certificata is an electronic mail by which a Public Administration delivers an online service allowing someone to bypass phishing emails and spam filters when sending emails messages to its subscribers, in return for paying a fee to the certifying service. The certified e‐mail (PEC from the Italian acronym of Posta Elettronica Certificata) it ensures the sender of the actual delivery of the message to the addressee and provides the same legal value of a letter sent by recorded delivery and receipt (in Italian raccomandata). For this reason, the person who decided to send an email can then be sure that his messages have reached their recipients without being blocked, or having links or images stripped out of them, by spam filters. The purpose of certified email is to allow Public Administrations to reliably reach the citizens by email, while giving recipients certainty that a certified message is legitimate and is not a forged spamming attempt. Thanks to the certified e‐mail system, the interaction between citizens, Public Administrations (PAs), Professionals and Companies is simplified because any user, from any online computer, can comfortably send letters and documents that previously could only be processed by Post Offices.
In the early 90s, the internet became very popular in Italy. Since 1997, the Italian laws have recognized electronic delivery systems as legally usable. Furthermore, in 2005, after two years of technical tests, the characteristics of an official electronic delivery service, named “certified electronic mail” (in Italian Posta Elettronica Certificata) were defined, giving the system legal standing. The design of the entire system was carried out by the National Center for Informatics in the Public Administration of Italy (DigitPA), followed by efforts for the implementation and testing of the service. The DigitPA has given the Italian National Research Council (CNR), and in particular the Institute of Information Science and Technologies at the CNR (ISTI), the task of running tests on providers of the service to guarantee the correct implementation and interoperability.
Nowadays, the Posta Elettronica Certificata allows citizens to obtain such a great advantage from it. For instance, the electronic management of communications and documents are therefore now certified and traceable, enjoying full legal validity, from your own computer this means that time and costs are now drastically reduced since your are not supposed to reach your Post Office physically. Furthermore, citizens will now have the advantage of having the option of a “read return receipt” that will not only confirm delivery but also the actual “reading” of the e‐mail from the addressee and finally each citizen will be able to communicate from their computers in a safe, non‐costly and exclusive form with the Public Administration, companies, and professionals in all cases where a communication with legal value is required.
To conclude, the Posta Elettronica Certificata has become a great success throughout the whole country. Recent data confirms that the Certified e‐mail development process is well on its way counting over 9.500 Certified e‐mail accounts have been activated by the Central and Local Public Administrations.” – Alessio Manes – Rome, Italy