MIAMI -- Fearing privacy angst may blunt
electronic commerce, the chief executives of many of the
world's biggest corporations on Tuesday called for global
standards to safeguard personal information on the Internet.
The Global Business Dialogue on E-commerce, a group of 72
corporations, including such majors as Time Warner Inc. and Toshiba Corp., said domestic laws alone could not
preserve the privacy of people's transactions or such personal
information as medical histories.
Privacy guidelines proposed by the GBDE called for Internet
vendors to clearly state policies on the uses of personal data,
give customers both a chance to keep details private and a
contact for privacy complaints.
Personal data on children should not be used or distributed in
any fashion without a parent's permission, according to draft
guidelines that will likely be strengthened in coming months,
according to Gerald Levin, chief executive of media
conglomerate Time Warner and chairman of the GBDE.
"What we are wrestling with is the obvious fact that these
transactions go cross border and into places that do not
always have the heritage of privacy protections of the United
States and Europe,'' Levin told reporters at a GBDE meeting in
"This is the challenge of an instantly global medium,'' he
Leave the customer satisfied
Created to promote a framework for worldwide electronic
Commerce -- forecast to rise dramatically to more than $2.5
trillion in 2005 -- the GDBE also urged that online merchants
provide means for satisfying consumer complaints outside courts
and government regulators.
At a meeting attended by governmental officials from Japan,
the United States and the European Union, the CEOs also
advocated creation of "trustmark'' groups to encourage good
"We need each other to pave the way to the new world,''
Vivendi Chairman Jean-Marie Messier said.