Scrap Oftel, regulate Web - Consumers Association

The Consumers Association (CA) is calling for Oftel to be scrapped as part of a wider review of regulation of communications in the UK.

Like many observers, CA believes that a wider spectrum of media needs to be included in the new regulators brief, including Internet and interactive television. However, the CA fall short of calling for new laws for the regulation of the Internet. They say that "Proper enforcement of existing laws would boost consumer confidence in buying goods and services via the Internet".

In a report called Transactions on the Internet, and published yesterday, the CA calls for Internet vendors to follow a voluntary code of conduct. Spokesperson Alan Stephens told ZDNet News that "the government should provide a framework to step in, in the last resort, but this shouldn't be necessary if the voluntarty, self regulation systems are working."

The CA is planning an international initiative with the help of similar bodies abroad to tackle the problem that national laws are sometimes ineffective in monitoring the internet, which doesn't recognise international borders. "Through the CA initiative the UK is leading the way in calling for consumer protection on the Internet." said Stephens.