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US Commerce Dept. E-Commerce Press Release

01 February 1999

Washington, DC - U.S. Secretary of Commerce William M. Daley announced today that the Administration is seeking public comments and suggestions concerning policies, laws or regulations that might create barriers to electronic commerce.

"Our aim is to establish a legal framework that facilitates electronic commerce around the globe, to protect consumers and their privacy, and to enable everyone in our country to fully participate in this remarkable economic transformation," Daley said. "Some laws and regulations designed for the 'physical world' may not always work in cyberspace. We need to ensure that governments do everything possible to foster this revolution in opportunity, convenience, and choice, while providing on-line equivalents to important consumer protections we now have in the paper-based world."

Vice President Gore announced this initiative in November 1999 through a Presidential Directive to Federal Agencies. A Department of Commerce led sub-group will undertake this initiative on behalf of the U.S. Working Group on Electronic Commerce. The sub-group will recommend revisions that facilitate electronic commerce while ensuring that online commerce is as safe for consumers and the public as commerce in the offline world.

Many of the laws now on the books pre-date the recent explosion in online commerce. For example, some licensing requirements or specific technical standards may unintentionally prevent some transactions from occurring online. On the other hand, the sub-group may find that the current rules in some areas continue to make sense.

In addition to soliciting public comments, the Administration will invite representatives from Federal agencies, and state and local governments to identify barriers to e-commerce, propose solutions and identify opportunities for collaboration. Among other objectives, the sub-group seeks to identify on a priority basis which federal laws or regulations are inhibiting electronic commerce by small businesses and to suggest how they might be modified.

A detailed request for public comments was published in today's Federal Register. Comments, which can be submitted via the web at, are due by March 17, 2000.


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