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No more Net red tape, pleads gov't taskforce

'You're on your own regarding dodgy transactions'

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Confusion about regulations in the online world is holding e-commerce back, according to a report from the government's "Better Regulation" taskforce.

The authors suggested that government not involve itself too heavily in the online world.

Lord Christopher Haskins, the chairman of the taskforce, warns that further legislation would only add to the bewilderment among the small and medium sized businesses trying to work online. What is needed, he says, is clarity.

The report states that businesses tend to be unsure about how to apply traditional business practises to the net, and don't know if there are any regulations specifically for ecommerce that they must also adhere to.

However, Lord Haskins says that more legislation would not make this any easier. "We do not want any more regulation," he said in an interview, before going on to say that people had to realise that if they buy something like a fridge from Columbia, then they "are on their own as regards these dodgy transaction".

The authors conclude that e-commerce is about more than high profile dotcoms, rather it is about a fundamentally new way to businesses to operate and interact with one another.

However, this is not reflected in the way the industry is being managed: "We have found that the open structure of the Internet Marketplace is not mirrored by a sufficiently transparent regulatory framework."

The researchers recommended that the government set up a single portal to allow fast and simple access to the information about regulations. They also suggested that the DTI ensure that the interests of the whole cross-section of e-businesses were represented in industry groups consulted by the government. ®

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The report can be found here

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