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Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

October 1, 1999 

At Annual Meeting, Spitzer outlines joint effort for e-commerce

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has pledged to work with The Business Council to help New York be "a true leader in e-commerce."

Addressing The Council's Annual Meeting Sept. 24, Spitzer outlined three areas in which his office's Internet Bureau and The Business Council can collaborate:

Seeking legal certainty and predictability in e-commerce.

"Businesses have a right to the same legal certainty and predictability available in the offline world when they engage in commercial transactions online," Spitzer said. "This certainty allows you to deal efficiently with your business partners, and modify default rules with specific contractual language when you need to."

To create this certainty, Spitzer said his office would work with The Business Council to develop new rules, or new applications of existing ones, in cases where established laws, such as the Uniform Commercial Code, cannot be clearly or readily applied to on-line commerce.

Understanding jurisdiction in cyberspace.

Law enforcement must have a strong presence in cyberspace to protect both consumers and business from unlawful on-line activity, Spitzer said.

"Just as you have to know that if someone breaks into your store or office or plant at night, law enforcement will come to your aid, you need to know that when someone hacks into your system or counterfeits your software, law enforcement will be there when appropriate," he said.

Businesses also need to know what law-enforcement agencies have jurisdiction over on-line problems.

Developing adequate on-line privacy protections.

Citing surveys showing consumer interest in safeguarding personal information, Spitzer said "privacy concerns are a genuine threat to the continued growth of e-commerce."

Spitzer urged businesses to tell consumers how they collect, maintain, and use consumer information, and to give consumers a meaningful choice about the use of their data.

As part of its ongoing dialogue with the Attorney General's Internet Bureau, The Council has agreed to survey its members to learn how many businesses with an online presence have a privacy policy posted on their websites, as well as what protections these policies provide.