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November 30, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

The meat on the bones of the US government’s e-commerce strategy initiative announced yesterday was pretty thin, but did include a pledge for the Department of Commerce (DoC) to work with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in protecting consumer from fraud over the web as well working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to promote private investment in high-speed voice, video and data networks. The government also plans to promote the use of the internet by small businesses. Whenever the FCC gets mentioned in the same sentence as the internet, people tend to get nervous, fearing telecom-style regulations. However, the administration was keen to emphasize a continuation of its policy of self-regulation over legislation in all areas of internet commerce. The announcement by the government also marked the swan song of Ira Magaziner, President Clinton’s senior policy advisor on internet matters. He produced a report pulling work from the interagency task force he has headed and documenting the administration’s achievements, which included the move towards the privatization of the domain name and numbering systems – the memorandum of understanding for which was formally signed at the ceremony yesterday. Other achievements claimed by the administration include the Internet Tax Freedom Act, Digital Millenium Copyright Act and the Next Generation Internet Research Act. Magaziner’s responsibilities will be divided among various people. David Beier, Gore’s domestic policy advisor, and Sally Katzen, deputy director of the National Economic Council, will take over coordination of much of the administration’s internet agenda, while Eliot Maxwell, the former deputy director of the Office of Plans and Policies at the FCC has already been installed at Commerce to oversee the domain name and numbering issues (11/20/98). The rest of the event was taken up with rah- rah speeches from the likes of Cisco Systems Inc’s CEO John Chambers and other industry executives.

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