Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft
5 March 1999. Thanks to IB. Source: http://www.dti.gov.uk/cii/elec/consfn1.pdf
BUILDING CONFIDENCE IN ELECTRONIC COMMERCE -
A CONSULTATION DOCUMENT
Unique Referenc e Number: URN 99/642
dti Department of Trade and Industry
BUILDING CONFIDENCE IN ELECTRONIC COMMERCE - A CONSULTATION DOCUMENT
Electronic commerce has the potential to revolutionise the way business is done and improve the competitiveness of British industry. The Government has set the ambitious goal of developing the UK as the world's best place in which to trade electronically and the Prime Minister has set the target that by 2002, 25% of dealings by citizens and businesses with government should be able to be done electronically.
People need to be confident about the identity of the person sending an electronic message, to be sure that it hasn't been tampered with, and in some cases that it has been kept confidential. The technology is available, but users need to be able to trust it and companies supplying it. The Government announced its intention to legislate in November 1998, to build trust in electronic commerce, by establishing a voluntary licensing system for providers of cryptographic services; and by enabling legal recognition of "electronic signatures".
The main purpose of this Consultation Paper, which has been prepared jointly by the DTI and the Home Office, is to seek views on the detailed implementation of this policy. Topics on which we are seeking views include: legal recognition, the criteria which applicants for licenses will have to meet, the liability of service providers towards their customers and others, and the way the law enforcement provisions will affect licensed providers, unlicensed providers and other people. We are also interested in views about the removal of obstacles in existing law so as to permit the use of electronic communication in place of paper, and other changes to legislation to promote electronic commerce.
Serious criminals, including drug traffickers, paedophiles and terrorists, are turning to encryption to conceal their activities. Unchecked, this will make the work of law enforcement increasingly difficult. The Government therefore intends to provide the agencies responsible for tackling serious crime with the ability to acquire lawful access to material necessary to decrypt communications or stored data.
While the Government remains keen to promote the development and use of encryption technologies that meet law enforcement requirements, it recognises industry concerns that making key escrow and third party key recovery a requirement for licensing could hinder the development of electronic commerce in the UK. It is therefore consulting on the basis that this will not be a requirement for licensing. However, the Government is looking to industry to help identify ways of meeting law enforcement requirements while promoting the growth of electronic commerce.
The Government is committed to introducing legislation in the current Parliamentary session. Comments are required by Thursday 1 April.
5 March 1999