Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20580
30 June 1999
The International Chamber of Commerce, as the main voice of international business, welcomes the opportunity to offer our views to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Consumer Protection in the Global Electronic Marketplace.
ICC attaches great importance to the protection of consumer interests. Over the years we have actively promulgated a wide range of industry codes and guidelines to protect the interests of consumers and to promote high standards of business conduct through business self-regulation. Attached please find a list of these codes and guidelines.
We recognize that as with traditional commerce, electronic commerce requires trust across the whole spectrum of users and providers of services and goods. Governments have long acknowledged the fact that a dynamic trading environment requires a careful and restrained approach to regulation. They have traditionally welcomed business self-regulatory initiatives as the foundation of rules governing commerce.
As you may know, ICC has since 1995 issued Guidelines on Marketing and Advertising on the Internet. I am pleased to send a copy of the 1998 revision of these guidelines.
These guidelines provide strong self-regulatory rules for ethical advertising on the Internet, on issues such as data protection, advertising to children and unsolicited commercial messages. The global nature of the Internet lends itself naturally to these global self-regulatory rules, responsibly developed by business to enhance consumer confidence and to meet privacy expectations.
These self-regulatory guidelines are being widely applied by businesses and associations around the world, and by ICC member companies - dozens of multinational companies have pledged their commitment to observing these rules in their online marketing and advertising activities.
In addition to ongoing implementation of these guidelines, businesses from around the world are working through ICC to study subjects of importance to the protection of consumers in the electronic commerce marketplace. ICC's global membership is, for instance, currently developing a set of best practices and recommendations to governments on jurisdiction and applicable law in electronic commerce.
We believe that these guidelines and our other efforts provide solid evidence that effective business self-regulation is being created for electronic commerce as it has traditionally been used successfully to lower transaction costs in traditional commerce, in response to market forces. Therefore, we recommend that the FTC take into account the following principles in considering consumer protection on the Internet:
We would be pleased to provide further information on the effectiveness of self-regulation with respect to the FTCs review of consumer protection on the Internet.
Maria Livanos Cattaui