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EU commissioner pushing for Net self-regulation

------- Forwarded message follows ------- Date sent: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 23:01:01 -0500 From: Barry Steinahrdt <> Subject: EU commissioner pushing for Net self-regulation To: Send reply to:

Another American export, that Europe could do without.


EU commissioner pushing for Net self-regulation
By Bloomberg News
Special to CNET
November 30, 1999, 10:20 a.m. PT
URL: BRUSSELS--European Union Telecommunications Commissioner Erkki Liikanen said he plans to propose guidelines by next April for businesses to set up ways to self-regulate the Internet. Government action is necessary in some areas such as copyright protection and liability, he said. But in other cases, governments should leave it to businesses to come up with ways to manage the Internet, he added. Such self-regulation could involve ways for consumers and companies to resolve disputes out of court. "We should have regulation where it's necessary, and where it's not necessary we can trust self-regulation," Liikanen said after meeting with EU telecommunications ministers. He called his approach "coregulation." E-commerce could be a $2 trillion to $5 trillion market in the next six years, with the United States accounting for half. Europe's online market could top $64 billion, or 1 percent of its gross domestic product, according to Forrester Research. Previous EU calls for tighter protections for data privacy have sparked a trade standoff from the United States, which wants a more hands-off approach. EU ministers generally backed Liikanen's approach, with Rik Daems, Belgium's telecommunications minister, saying, "We should only adopt legislation where you need it." Others stressed that regulation may be needed to protect consumer rights. "We should promote businesses to make codes of good contact, such as out-of-court settlement procedures," said Jose Maria Villar Uribarri, Spain's state secretary for communications. However, he warned that "self-regulation by companies alone could entirely ignore consumer rights." Liikanen said he would like to propose the guidelines before an international conference on the Internet industry, to take place in Lisbon in April. Although the telecommunications ministers endorsed Liikanen's suggestion, he still needs to gain the approval of the European Commission to make the proposal.

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