Australia Addresses Future of E-Commerce

2 June 1999
The Australian Federal Government published a paper Monday listing its objectives for e-commerce along with proposed plans for ensuring effective consumer protection. The exposure draft of "A Policy Framework for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce," outlines scam prevention, privacy, global compliance and several other initiatives.

The paper, introduced by Financial Services and Regulation Minister Joe Hockey, stresses a "light-handed" approach to regulating electronic commerce and recommends self-regulation with government support.

Initiatives include a model code of conduct to be launched in late 1999; research on a trial industry dispute program, to start in 1999; plans for a scam alert system and an Australian "seal of assurance" indicating a site's compliance with standards; uniform State and federal legislation on legal recognition of electronic commerce, to be introduced in mid-1999; privacy legislation to strengthen and support self-regulatory privacy protection measures; plans for cooperative action on cross-border electronic commerce scams; and the assembly of an Expert Group to begin working in July.

Public comments are being sought until July 30.

[View the paper in its entirety]