Government attacked on e-strategy

A report by the Better Regulation Task Force suggested unless business confusion over e-commerce regulation is tackled, the UK could be left behind other countries.

The Task Force report, entitled Regulating Cyberspace: Better Regulation for e-commerce found three main regulatory concerns.

It found businesses are confused about the regulatory environment, consumers are concerned that they may be exploited by unscrupulous e-commerce traders and that because the internet is a transnational environment, traditional legislation from governments does not sit well.

Lord Haskins, chair of the Task Force, said: ‘The Task Force recognises that, in general, businesses, and particularly small ones, dislike regulation, yet some consider that an element of state endorsement might enable the SMEs to earn the confidence of potential customers. We reject this’.

Meanwhile business groups, including the CBI, have lent weight to suggestions that ‘there are disturbing signs’ that the UK’s e-business strategy may be ‘getting lost’ as a result of the delay in appointing a new e-envoy to head the campaign to get the UK online.

The permanent position has remained vacant since the departure of Alex Allan in October, with the Cabinet Office admitting it was having difficulty finding suitable candidates.

However, a spokesperson for the Cabinet Office today told the government has now drawn up a shortlist of suitable candidates for the role.

‘We had hoped to install the new e-envoy sooner, but everyone agrees it is better to get the right person in and not act speedily,’ the spokesperson said.

Related reading