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Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce

For those with an interest in electronic commerce might find this interesting....

The Office of Government Online and the Australian Information Industry Association recently sponsored a seminar titled "Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce". John Dyson from the Department of the Treasury was the presenter. The seminar focussed on business to consumer electronic commerce and the Exposure Draft Policy Framework (available at http://www.treasury.gov.au/publications/ConsumerProtectionInElectronicCommerce/index.asp). Topics covered include:

* The economic and social benefits of electronic commerce
* The Internet and electronic commerce in Australia
* The global nature of electronic commerce
* Australia's approach to the information economy
* Consumer protection in Australia
* The policy framework
* Discussion of key issues (eg Information, Payment, Redress,
Jurisdiction, Privacy)
* Government initiatives (Self-regulation, International co-operation, Education, Legal framework, Co-operation between enforcement agencies)

The legal issues associated with global electronic commerce was of particular interest to attendees. Unfortunately there is no international agreement on how to determine the appropriate jurisdiction for electronic transactions.

Attention was also drawn to the six fact sheets relating to shopping on the Internet that were developed by the National Office for the Information Economy (available at http://www.dcita.gov.au/cgi-bin/graphics.pl?path=3815). These cover:

* #1: What are the benefits and risks of shopping online?
* #2: What type of information should I look for in a Website?
* #3: How safe is it to use my credit card?
* #4: Do I have to pay sales tax or duties on imported goods?
* #5: What happens to my personal information?
* #6: What if something goes wrong with my purchase?

A few other sources for information on electronic commerce include (note: some of this information is very technical):
* http://webbuilder.netscape.com/computing/webbuilder/Business/EcomSpot/
* http://e-comm.internet.com
* http://www.zdnet.com/enterprise/e-business/
* http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/EC/
* http://www.storebuilder.com/
* http://sellitontheweb.com/
* http://www.strom.com/pubwork/ecommerce/

-- Mark Mathieson AQIS Web Services Manager Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service
Internet Site: http://www.aqis.gov.au