Bull warns against international e-commerce regulation

A new report on electronic commerce calls for the introduction of a specific international body for e-trade issues

Traditional attempts to regulate the Internet will fail, according to a report today from IT group Bull.

The report -- Global Regulation of E-commerce -- warns that international regulatory bodies can not adapt quickly enough to respond to the fast moving requirements of e-commerce. It acknowledges that individual governments' jurisdiction over tax, data protection and consumer rights are being eroded by the Internet, and calls for a separate international body to be set up to deal specifically with the issues facing e-traders.

The United Nations, the World Trade Organisation and the European Commission are all currently involved in drawing up regulations for e-commerce. One of the most worrying factors affecting e-commerce firms is recent draft legislation from the EC which could require e-traders to comply with the national laws of all 15 member states in litigation cases. Campaigners say this could seriously hinder electronic commerce and lead to a trade dispute with the US.

Stephen Meyler, director of marketing at Bull believes it is up to business to set the rules: "International bodies cannot afford to get caught in lengthy legislative cycles. Businesses have set the pace, and it is clear that a new fast-moving approach is needed to react to the overnight changes which continuously take place in the e-commerce realm," he said.

  • 88 percent of IT lawyers surveyed for the report said they had no confidence in the ability of current international regulatory bodies to respond adequately to the challenges of online trade.

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