The Public Voice in Electronic Commerce

OECD  Paris - October 11th, 1999 - 9h30-18h15

9h30-10h15 - Opening and Keynote Speeches
Herwig Schlögl, Deputy Secretary General, OECD
Yves Cochet, Vice-President, French National Assembly
10h15-11h30 - Panel 1 : Protection of Consumer Rights
Moderator :
 Dirk Klasen (AGV - TACD)
Panelists :
 - Theresa Amato (CAC, USA)
 - Joël d'Angio (DGCCRF - State Secretariat to Commerce, France)
 - Wibo Koole (CI - TACD)
 - Pippa Lawson (PIAC, Canada - GILC)
 - Jim Murray (BEUC - TACD)
 - Jytte Ĝlgaard (National Consumer Agency, Denmark)
Summary :
The electronic purchase of goods and services by using the internet provides new opportunities for consumers to use markets and price competition world-wide. However, consumers won't use this new chance if they can't rely on a minimum of common standards of consumer protection. At present, due to the different rules which exist nationally or on the EU level private consumers don't actually have the same consumer rights which they are familiar with in their own country when they buy in the internet. Therefore, it's necessary to agree on common standards of consumer protection dealing, inter alia, with information, applicable law and legal forum, terms and conditions of the contract, consumer complaints and dispute handling or advertising. This panel will discuss how far the OECD guidelines for consumer protection can promote a reliable environment for internet shopping in future and what is left to be done.
11h45-13h00 - Panel 2 : Privacy and Personal Data Protection
Moderator :
 Dave Banisar (PI - GILC)
Panelists :
 - Caspar Bowden (FIPR, UK)
 - Anne Carblanc (OECD)
 - Marie Georges (CNIL, France)
 - Roland Schneider (TUAC)
 - Alain Weber (LDH, France)
Summary :
The Internet provides for many opportunities and dangers for the protection of individuals' privacy and personal information. Detailed information about individuals' entire lives including their interests, finances, and health can be collected, processed, and transferred around the world in seconds. Communications can be easily intercepted. Furthermore, worker privacy issues in the digital workplace are becoming a major concern for trade-unions. In response to these dangers, governments around the world are increasingly adopting new data protection and privacy laws. New tools are also being developed which allow for anonymous communications and transactions. This panel will examine some of the new privacy threats and the legal and technical responses that can be implemented on a global level.
14h30-15h00 - Open session
Moderator :
 Andrew Shapiro (Markle Foundation, USA)
Summary :
ICANN and the public participation in Internet governance
15h00-16h15 - Panel 3 : Internet Access and Development
Moderator :
 Meryem Marzouki (IRIS, France - GILC)
Panelists :
 - Phil Agre (UCLA, USA)
 - Alain Baron (Sud-PTT, France)
 - Tracy Cohen (Univ. of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)
 - Eric Goldstein (HRW - GILC)
 - Andy Oram (CPSR, USA - GILC)
 - Robert Shaw (ITU)
Summary :
Recognized as one of the keys to maximizing development, Internet only could reach its positive social potential through access affordability all over the world. However, the deregulation of the Telecom industry hasn't yet resulted in providing universal service. Major studies and surveys show that market forces investments aren't present in the places where access is most needed. This applies not only in poor communities of rich countries, but also, a fortiori, in developing countries, specially in rural areas : in its 1999 report on development, the UNDP shows the disparity of the Internet access users ratios among different parts of the world. Moreover, Internet governance is becoming a very hot issue, and new international bodies are being created to manage related questions, like the Domain Name System resolution. Panelists will present the status of Internet access in various parts of the world, and discuss the necessity of a regulatory framework to create the real conditions for universal access and affordability, in view of a fair Internet development and use.
16h30-17h45 - Panel 4 : Internet, the Future of Work and Quality of Life
Moderator :
 Angelo Gennari (CISL, Italy - TUAC)
Panelists :
 - Georg Erber (DIW, Germany)
 - Serge Leroux (CGT/ISERES, France)
 - Philippe Quéau (UNESCO)
 - Joel S. Yudken (AFL-CIO, USA - TUAC)
Summary :
The Internet, particularly through electronic commerce, is considerably modifying relations between businesses and customers as well as between businesses themselves. This will effect working life as well as everyday life. It will also effect international relationships and trade agreements. Till now, these impacts have not been addressed sufficiently by national governments and international institutions. Instead, their main concerns were directed to promote and to ensure both free flow of capital and free trade of goods and services. However, new social challenges and new issues, brought about by the ever growing use of the internet for commercial purposes, have not been put on the political agenda. The panel is going to explore some of the challenges related to the transition towards the establishment of digital marketplaces. Particular attention will be given to the impact of e-commerce upon manufacturing industry and other sectors of the economy like services, media, to employment and employment strategies of firms, to education and training (skill developments, skill requirements), to the change working conditions and to the need to ensure social cohesion. Furthermore, the panel will deal with the impact of electronic commerce on the national taxation systems, with intellectual property rights and patentability issues. In short: this panel will discuss opportunities and ways to ensure that the ever growing use of the internet goes along with democracy, social responsibility, equal opportunities and inclusion of all. It is intended to contribute to a framework towards a fair Internet development and use from an inclusive Public Voice perspective.
17h45-18h15 - Conclusion
Summary of the key outcomes : Marc Rotenberg (EPIC - GILC)
Response : John Dryden (OECD)
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