Select Committee on European Union Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by World Internet Forum

  1.  What needs to be done to create confidence and to stimulate e-commerce?

The UK trust set up recently is not fair; the Consumers' Association is both a trustee and a body seeking "trust".

  We would like to suggest that this is a world matter and one that the World Internet Forum could take on; we have had discussions with Clicksure in Washington DC (DW is chairman of their Council); they too are seeking trustee status but not for UK only for the world; again they have asked if this is something WiF could do; we could, but there would have to be a buy in from all governments; how will this be done?

2.  Does the European Commission's draft Action Plan "e-Europe: An Information Society for All" offer a realistic means of promoting e-commerce in the EU?

  Comments to follow.

3.  Will codes of conduct and co-regulation provide sufficient protection? Is there a case for intervention by national governments and the EU?

  The Internet is global; the main problem for the EU and for all governments is taxation; the World Internet Forum based at a university to give it academic and transparency could do this.

4.  Do the institutions of national government, on the one hand, and the European Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, on the other, function with sufficient flexibility and coherence to promote the EU's objectives in the field of e-commerce?

  E-commerce has developed without government aid and will continue to do so; the major problems are pornography, drug trafficking and libel but there are search machines that can help here; taxation remains the issue.

5.  Should existing EU institutions' internal structures be changed, or new ones created, to improve policy development and co-ordination?

  The Internet will change democracy and change how governments work; governments are generally reactive; governments are vertical organisations; the Internet is flat; the Internet transcends the nation state; too many governments think of the Internet as a delivery mechanism without properly understanding that it changes the nature of government per se.

6.  How can structural change be brought about fast enough to accommodate to the growth of e-commerce?

  Sort the server, tax position (OECD papers about to be published?).

  Unmetered access ASAP.

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2000