Certified electronic mail (PEC) is an e-mail system in which the sending of and the delivery of the message to the recipient's mailbox are certified.
"To certify" sending and receiving (the two fundamental moments in the transmission of electronic documents) means provision to the sender, by the email service provider, of a receipt constituting legal proof of acknowledgement of the delivery of the message and any attached documentation. Similarly, when the message reaches the recipient, the administrator provides the sender with an acknowledgement of successful (or unsuccessful) delivery with a precise indication of the time at which the operation took place.
In the event that the sender does not receive said acknowledgements, the electronic audit trail of the operations performed are preserved under law for a period of 30 months, allowing the reproduction, with the same legal validity, of the acknowledgements themselves.
It is important to understand that the date and time of transmission and reception of the message are certified, but that the PEC does not certify the content of the electronic envelope that is transmitted from the sender to the recipient. This is similar to that which happens with registered post, since that does not effectively certify the contents of the envelope sent, which may contain a blank sheet of paper.
Finally, the PEC does not certify that the recipient has actually read the message (in case of litigation, only the delivery is assumed).
The PEC Service is therefore able to ensure not only the identification of the sender, the integrity and confidentiality of the message, but also to guarantee delivery of the message to the recipient's mailbox. The certified emails, their successful delivery ensured, are equivalent to notifications by post in the cases permitted under law (Art. 14, paragraph 3 of the Presidential Decree 445/2000).
The PEC therefore certifies the date and time of transmission and receipt of the message, but does not in any way endorse the content of the electronic envelope that is transmitted from the sender to the recipient, as in the case of registered mail, in which there is no certification regarding the actual contents of the mailed envelope. In addition, the PEC does not certify that the recipient has actually read the message (in case of litigation, only the delivery is assumed).