PracticePeople In PracticeWeb trade bill snub

Web trade bill snub

The eagerly awaited e-commerce legislation has met with a muted industry response.

The e-commerce bill in last week’s Queen’s Speech has received a muted welcome from the software industry and Big Five consultants.

The eagerly awaited bill is designed to give legal recognition to secure electronic signatures and encourage a system of voluntary licensing for companies providing encryption services. It will also determine what liability ‘trusted third parties’- such as banks or even Big Five firms – would bear for any resulting losses.

The government hoped that the raft of measures would encourage Internet commerce by promoting a framework for secure transactions without heavy-handed regulation.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development maintained that the current tax system should be able to cope with e-commerce transactions globally, without the government having to impose so-called byte taxes – which are fiercely opposed by the software industry.

Paul Baker, head of Ernst & Young’s electronic consulting division, said the combined measures laid the minimum requirements for e-commerce to mature. ‘At the end of the day, trusted third parties are a fundamental part of e-commerce. Without it, you won’t know if the person you’re dealing is who they say they are,’ he said.

Baker added that the government might have to establish a formal accreditation scheme for trusted third parties, such as banks and the Big Five, to maintain industry standards. ‘You might have many varying schemes without a government framework so the government could license groups to accredit third parties.’

A source in the Internet commerce sector questioned whether the government had the commitment to meet the e-commerce transaction targets set for central government departments, let alone the requirements of industry.

‘The government has set itself a target of handling 90% of routine government transactions through e-commerce by 2001. I don’t think there’s enough of a leadership role from the Treasury and cabinet office to insist government agencies use e-commerce.’

He added: ‘The government is making the right noises about Internet commerce but it is too early to really tell yet.’

Related Articles

Is inefficiency stealing your time and money?

Accounting Firms Is inefficiency stealing your time and money?

6m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
CIMA elects new president

Institutes CIMA elects new president

6m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Transparent currency trade: How to achieve costs visibility

Governance Transparent currency trade: How to achieve costs visibility

6m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Introduction to KPMG UK’s new leadership team

Accounting Firms Introduction to KPMG UK’s new leadership team

6m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
EY appoints head of UK Infrastructure Asset Intelligence practice

Accounting Firms EY appoints head of UK Infrastructure Asset Intelligence practice

8m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
FRP Advisory expands operation with new office, partner appointments

Accounting Firms FRP Advisory expands operation with new office, partner appointments

10m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Magma Group announces merger, partner promotions

Accounting Firms Magma Group announces merger, partner promotions

10m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
MHA MacIntyre Hudson advises on management buy-out

Accounting Firms MHA MacIntyre Hudson advises on management buy-out

10m Emma Smith, Managing Editor