Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft


15 March 1999. Thanks to TK. Source:


P/99/200 5 March 1999


Government consults on proposals to make UK best place to trade electronically

With Electronic Commerce set to soar to #350 billion world-wide by 2002 and with six million Britons already on-line, the Government is introducing proposals today to boost our economy's competitiveness by giving the UK a head start in the new digital marketplace.

"Building Confidence in Electronic Commerce - A Consultation Document", is published by Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers and Home Secretary Jack Straw. It aims to build people's trust in trading on the internet and is a central part of the Government's strategy to ensure that the UK becomes the world's best place to do business electronically. The UK is already well-placed - with over 1 million internet users, and 15 per cent of the adult UK population already having visited the World Wide Web.


Jack Straw said:

"Cryptography has an important contribution to make in the successful development of electronic commerce.

"Alongside this, the Government also has a fundamental responsibility to protect the public. Encryption is already being used by drug traffickers, terrorists and paedophiles. We must ensure that vital law enforcement powers keep pace with this new technology.

"We are therefore announcing today proposals for lawful access to encryption keys.

"We need to maintain the effectiveness of existing interception and search and seizure powers which are essential to the battle against serious crime and terrorism".


Taken together, the proposals in this paper, which will form the basis of our Electronic Commerce Bill, will give the UK the most attractive legal framework in the world for doing electronic business. The paper is available at

# = pounds sterling