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UK gov admits it lags behind on Web

Cannot keep pace with the rate of change, minister says

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The government has admitted that it is unable to keep pace with the development of the Internet and wired services. "The government can't move as quickly [as the Net industry] -- it is difficult for us," said the minister for ecommerce, Michael Wills MP. "I appreciate the government is slightly slow on its feet but we are developing ways to work with the industry," he said. The minister was addressing a reception at the House of Commons last night attended by senior figures of the Internet Service Providers Association and the Associate Parliamentary Internet Group -- or APIG. He confirmed that the ecommerce Bill -- or the Electronic Communications Bill, to give it its proper name -- was ready to be brought before MPs. It was just a matter of deciding the "appropriate Parliamentary process", he said. He also confirmed that the Bill would not contain "any provisions for key escrow" but he said that the government would be looking at the issue if encryption very closely. "I would like the industry to regulate itself but if that approach does not prove successful then the government will be forced to intervene," he said. ®

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