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[News]EU Commissioners Urge Internet Business Caution

Verbraucherschutz scheint doch nicht so out zu sein


>Date: Tue, 3 Jun 1997 21:01:05 -0400
>From: Dave Banisar <banisar@epic.org>
>Subject: [News]EU Commissioners Urge Internet Business Caution
>To: Global Internet Liberty Campaign <gilc-plan@gilc.org>
>Reply-To: gilc-plan@gilc.org
>Errors-To: list-admin@gilc.org
>    By Neil Winton, Science and Technology Correspondent
>     BRUSSELS, Belgium (Reuter) - Big business is dreaming of
>burgeoning sales across the Internet, but the European
>Commission is saying "not so fast," delegates to a conference
>were told Tuesday.
>     European Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Emma Bonino said
>many aspects of trade across the Internet's worldwide network of
>computers have to be carefully examined.
>     Bonino was concerned about privacy and censorship, while
>another commissioner expressed concerns about potential
>dominance of the Net by strong companies.
>     "We are aware of attempts to control these new multimedia
>markets," said European Union competition Commissioner Karel
>van Miert. "If big companies try to escape controls and
>dominate markets, we will step in."
>     Representatives of high-technology companies could hardly
>contain their enthusiasm for the rich pickings they hope will
>soon be available from these online markets.
>     "Europe can expect an exciting ride as we look ahead to the
>next 12 months," Sanjaya Addanki, International Business
>Machines Corp. manager for Europe, the Middle and Africa, told
>the conference.
>     "Europe has narrowed the gap with the U.S. and we are now
>about one year behind. Europe is getting Net-happy and actually
>getting wired up," said Addanki said.
>     Various market research organizsations have attempted to
>predict the scale of this new way of doing business. Most
>research presents charts with figures close to zero for the
>current year, with exponential growth predictions past the turn
>of the century.
>     This week, British-based Datamonitor published its latest
>guesstimates, saying online consumer sales will reach $3.2
>billion in Europe by 2001, up from an estimated $96 million for
>     The major driver of this will be the travel business, which
>will account for 35 percent of 2001's online sales, according to
> Datamonitor. Lesser performers will be the clothes, computer
>software and hardware markets.
>     Only about 1 percent of European homes are currently
>shopping online, but this should rise to 7 percent by 2001, when
>33 million homes will have a personal computer and modem access
>to the Internet. Germany will be the leading market, Datamonitor
>     Commissioner Bonino attempted to add some realism to the
>debate, saying: "This is major opportunity for companies and
>consumers but it is not without risk."
>     She called for a debate on the issue over the next six
>months, and expressed concern that illegal activities like bomb
>making, drugs and crime could take place on an unprotected Net.
>     "I don't have the answer; it's a complex problem," Bonino
>     Another delegate to the conference, organized by The Wall
>Street Journal Europe, said it would be wrong if governments,
>especially European ones with little experience of the Internet,
>attempted overregulation which might impinge on development.
>     "Any government which is not heavily involved (in online
>business) has no right to speak," said Roel Pieper, chief
>executive officer of Tandem Computers Inc. of the United States.
>David Banisar (Banisar@epic.org)                *    202-544-9240 (tel)
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