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by Mark Uncapher
Vice President
Information Services & Electronic Commerce Division 703-284-5344

July 1999
  8. ITAA E-COMMERCE PROGRAMS: The eCustomer Intimacy Conference

1. INTERNET INDUSTRY LEADERS LAUNCH GetNetWise - New effort helps families find the information they need to guide children online

ITAA joined many of the world’s leading Internet companies and associations in announcing the launch of GetNetWise, an unprecedented online resource for families that will deliver information, tools and tips to guide children to a safe, enriching experience online. AOL and AT&T are co-chairs of the project, along with the Internet Education Foundation. Other ITAA Information Services & Electronic Commerce division member companies participating in the effort include MCI WorldCom, Microsoft, MindSpring Enterprises, Inc., IBM, Prodigy and Yahoo!

The GetNetWise resource will be available on all major Internet portals, through a broad range of Internet Service Providers and family-oriented Web sites, as well as at More than 95 percent of Internet users will find this resource only one click away.

"There has never before been anything like GetNetWise," said Rick White, a former U.S. Representative from Washington State and co-founder of the Congressional Internet Caucus, who announced the new resource at a news conference. White was joined by top executives from industry, leaders of non-profits, members of Congress, top Administration officials and others.

"GetNetWise finally puts smart, aggregated resources right in front of parents across the Internet," White said. "GetNetWise is comprehensive and Web-wide. It will guide parents to the tools they need to help children use the Net safely."

"From today forward and from anywhere on the Internet, parents will never be far from the resources they need to protect their children online," said Jerry Berman, President of the IEF, which managed the project and built the site.

Functioning as an interactive directory, GetNetWise contains aggregated and syndicated content that can be found by clicking on the blue-and-white GetNetWise logo showing a little hand resting on a large hand guiding a computer mouse. The content, demonstrated at the news conference and available live today across the Net, is divided into four themes:

  • Internet Safety Guide based on age-level, risk area, and technology
  • Tools for Families describing technologies that monitor Net use, filter unwanted content, or control computer use
  • How to Report Online Trouble offering links to law enforcement and advocacy groups
  • A Guide to Kids Content linking to educational, entertaining content designed for kids.

"Aggregating the digital toolbox with good content and information about what to do when you run into trouble is the most effective way to protect kids online. This will be the first time a resource is available with so much aggregated information and so much support from the Internet industry, Congress and the Administration," White said.

GetNetWise is the culmination of industry’s commitment to create an online environment where families are empowered with the tools and information to safeguard children while providing access to an unprecedented wealth of global resources, information and contacts available on the Internet. GetNetWise is based on the belief that the most effective way to guide children is through the efforts of informed, involved parents.

The idea to place GetNetWise resources "one click away" from parents originated in discussions with Congressional and Administration leaders. Both Congress and the Administration have worked with industry leaders and well-known family groups in the 1997 Internet Online Summit and the 1998 America Links Up campaign to address children’s' safety online. Since then, industry leaders have focused creating a collection of digital resources that could be accessible from virtually all entry points to the Internet and which would provide families with information on how to guide their kids online.

GetNetWise is available to companies and non-profit organizations, and can be found at or by looking for the logo on portals, ISPs, search engines and Web sites. To learn more, contact Tim Lordan at the Internet Education Foundation, 202/638-4370.

2. FCC REPORT CONCLUDES INTERNET "HANDS-OFF" POLICY WORKS – ITAA praises report in Congressional testimony

The FCC Office of Plans and Policy (OPP) released on July 19th the latest in its OPP Working Paper Series, entitled The FCC and the Unregulation of the Internet. Authored by Jason Oxman, Counsel for Advanced Communications in the Office of Plans and Policy, the paper examines the FCC’s thirty-year history of not regulating the data services market, and how that tradition of "unregulation" was a crucial factor in the successful growth of the Internet. OPP periodically issues working papers on emerging issues in communications; these papers represent the individual views of their authors and are not official statements by the FCC or any FCC commissioner. The full text is available on the FCC web site at

In testimony before the House Small Business Committee on the "Digital Divide, " ITAA President Harris N. Miller commented on the report.

"Just last week the Federal Communications Committee released a thoughtful report, The FCC and the Unregulation of the Internet. It traces how a policy of government non-intervention in the data and information markets has contributed to the development of the Internet. Back in 1966 the FCC opened the first Computer Inquiry to consider the convergence of computers and communications. Since then the Commission has tried to maintain essentially a hands-off approach to these markets in order to encourage competition, consumer choice and speed to market. The FCC deserves great credit for pursuing these policies and resisting what may sometimes be the natural impulse of regulators to intervene. We salute the Commission for getting it right."

The report concludes that the success of the Internet has not been an accidental development. Market forces have driven the Internet’s growth, and the FCC has had a role to play in creating a deregulatory environment in which the Internet could flourish. The working paper examines the history of the FCC’s data policies and the ways in which those policies have benefited the Internet. Key FCC policy decisions, the paper finds, have included:

  • Fostering the development of an interconnected telecommunications network that ensured near universal availability of a reliable and affordable telephone system over which data services could be offered.
  • Determining through the Computer Inquiry proceedings that computer applications offered over that network were not subject to regulation, giving rise to the unregulated growth of the Internet.
  • Exempting enhanced service providers from the access charges paid by interexchange carriers, helping drive the availability of inexpensive dial-up Internet access.
  • Deregulating the telecommunications equipment market while requiring carriers to allow users to connect their own terminal equipment, helping to foster the widespread deployment of the modem and other data equipment tools that can be easily attached to the public switched network.
  • Implementing flexible spectrum licensing policies that permit innovative uses of wireless data services, leading to the development of wireless Internet applications.

The report concludes that the FCC, in plotting a deregulatory course for the future, should take advantage of lessons learned in three decades of "unregulation" of data networks:

  • Do not automatically impose legacy regulations on new technologies,
  • When Internet-based services replace traditional legacy services, begin to deregulate the old instead of regulate the new; and
  • Maintain a watchful eye to ensure that anti-competitive behavior, such as bottlenecks and tying, do not develop, and be careful that any regulatory responses are the minimum necessary and outweigh the costs of regulation.


Federal Trade Commission Chairman Robert Pitofsky told the House Telecommunications subcommittee that "legislation to address online privacy is not appropriate at this time." While most members of the subcommittee agreed, or stated no position, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) renewed his call for legislation. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications heard testimony from all four Commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission on their report, titled Self-Regulation and Privacy Online.

The FTC report also concluded "self-regulation is the least intrusive and most efficient means to ensure fair information practices online, given the rapidly evolving nature of the Internet and computer technology." It cited increased posting of privacy policies, and development of online seal programs, such as BBBonline.

Several members, such as Commerce Committee Chairman Tom Biliey (R-VA spoke against any legislation to regulate online privacy. "As I have stated many times in the past, I believe that ensuring the safety, security and privacy of online consumers is key to consumer use and acceptance of the Internet. Without these concerns being met, I believe that consumers lose confidence in electronic commerce. Electronic commerce changes so quickly, I am concerned that a government mandated privacy policy would stifle innovation. We would be imposing a static policy on a dynamic and constantly changing industry."

On the other hand, Rep. Markey criticized the FTC Commissioners’ recommendation. "We need a basic level of privacy protections for all Americans online. I believe that there is a role for a privacy marketplace, and a role for industry regulatory self-initiatives. No American should be left, however, without any privacy protection in the online environment. My view, we should pursue a legal framework which should, one, incorporate elements of industry self-regulation, two, allow technological tools to enhance privacy, and three, guarantee basic government backed protections." He also complained about the lack of financial privacy provisions in the banking reform bill recently passed by the House (HR 10).

Many members of the subcommittee, and the witnesses from industry, concurred with the report's conclusion. One member, Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA), suggested that while government regulation is not the solution, perhaps creating a property right in personal information, and a private right of action for conversion if that property is taken, would be an appropriate mechanism for protecting online privacy.

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) was disappointed that the FTC did not recommend legislation. Rep. Boucher is the sponsor of HR 1685, the Internet Growth and Development Act. This bill would require any web site that collects personally identifiable information to clearly and conspicuously provide notice of its collection, use, and disclosure policies.

"I have to express a measure of surprise at your conclusion that no new federal legislation is necessary at this time," said Rep. Boucher. "I am appalled by the recommendation that we not act now." Boucher added that "I think that there is some legislation that we could pass this year that the industry would not head off."


ITAA has announced a new co-marketing agreement with the online privacy program of BBBOnLine (

The BBBOnLine Privacy Program, launched March 17, seeks to assure consumers about how a Web site handles personally identifiable information. Under the new agreement, ITAA will encourage its members to apply for the BBBOnLine privacy seal, which is awarded to online businesses that meet the high standards set by the program. These include the posting of online privacy principles; completion of a comprehensive assessment; monitoring and review by a trusted organization; and participation in a consumer dispute resolution process.

At an ITAA-sponsored privacy policy briefing held at the AOL/Netscape offices in Mountain View, Ca. on July 15th, Vice President and Counsel Mark Uncapher called the partnership another step forward in industry self regulation of privacy issues on the Net. Noting the recent Federal Trade Commission report, which concluded that online privacy legislation is not currently needed, ITAA also commended the Commission for supporting continued industry-led initiatives.

"We are pleased to offer the BBBOnLine program to our members, who represent the leaders in the IT industry. While most of our members already voluntarily post their privacy policies, we think it’s important to go to this next step to give the consumer the assurances they are looking for when conducting transactions online," said Uncapher.

Russell Bodoff, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of BBBOnLine was a speaker at the briefing. He called the partnership a natural alliance. "ITAA has been a longtime advocate of businesses working with their customers to create mutual relationships of trust, without regulatory or legislative mandates. Our program allows businesses to create that piece of mind for customers concerned about privacy," Bodoff said.

ITAA will promote the privacy program through its electronic newsletter and other mailings, invite BBBOnLine representatives to participate at conferences and include information about BBBOnLine on the ITAA Web site. As part of the co-marketing agreement, ITAA members who apply for the seal will receive a discount on the annual BBBOnLine Privacy Seal fees.


ITAA President Harris Miller testified before the House Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigative Hearings on behalf of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on July 22.

ITAA and World Information Technology Services Alliance (WITSA) have been global leaders on the issue of domain name allocation since its inception, when the Administration made the decision to divest itself of the business and introduce competition into what was then controlled by a single domain name registrar.

In light of the continuing debate surrounding the formation and support of ICANN, ITAA’s National Board of Directors recently reaffirmed its position through a Resolution embracing a number of important principles:

  • private sector creation and organization of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) - a new, not-for-profit corporation to conduct DNS management;
  • rapid introduction of competition in the provision of domain name registration services;
  • adoption of policies to reduce conflicts between trademark holders and domain name registrants; and
  • review of the root server system to increase the security and professional management of that system.

Miller told the committee that transition from government control to a competitive Internet domain names allocations system will experience some bumps, but that ICANN’s consensus-based model was solid. Miller called on critics of ICANN to work together to resolve glitches that are inevitable with all start-up organizations.

"The future of the Internet is at stake," Miller said. "Reverting back to a government-run monopoly would inevitably lead to government interference and regulation, and that is not a viable option. ITAA supports ICANN and its charter to provide a competitive, self-supporting, industry-led, free market-driven approach to the Internet domain name system. Unfortunately, those who are working against ICANN may be undermining the future of this global medium."

Miller supported transparency of operations for ICANN’s Board, and a quick transition to a permanent, elected Board.


Earlier this month ITAA questioned the introduction of The Internet Freedom & Broadband Deployment Act of 1999 by Congressmen Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and John Dingell (D-MI).

"ITAA strongly supports Representatives Tauzin and Dingell's objective of encouraging widespread, timely broadband deployment," said ITAA President Harris Miller. "However this important goal is best served by encouraging healthy competition from a diversity of competitors. ITAA believes that it is premature to give incumbent local telephone companies access to new markets when they have not yet complied with the market opening requirements of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. By overturning the carefully balanced structure of the 1996 Act, this bill's approach would give Congress, not the marketplace, responsibility for picking broadband winners and losers. "

The Tauzin-Dingell is the latest "broadband" bill to be introduced in the 106th Congress. The current line-up of bills includes:

  • S 877, Broadband Internet Regulatory Relief Act (Brownback-Nickles-Craig).
  • S 1043, Internet Regulatory Freedom Act (McCain).
  • HR 1685, Internet Growth and Development Act (Boucher-Goodlatte).
  • HR 1686, Internet Freedom Act (Goodlatte-Boucher).
  • HR 2420, Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act (Tauzin-Dingell).

Each of these bills is intended to speed the deployment of broadband Internet access in the U.S. by reducing regulatory requirements faced by the incumbent local telephone companies when they provide digital subscriber line (DSL) service. The bills are often sponsored and cosponsored by Representatives or Senators from rural areas with there is low cable penetration, but almost universal telephone service penetration. The Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996 requires that the incumbent local companies open their own local markets before allowing them to offer long distance services. The rationale behind the bills is that the local companies will have a greater incentive to invest in DSL technology if the regulatory burden is reduced, and their return on investment is increased.

ITAA’S position on the bills, which attempt to open rural markets’ access to broadband telecommunications technologies, by permitting local telephone companies to offer long distance data service before they are permitted to offer long distance voice service, would actually harm the successes achieved as a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 in opening up the telecommunications market to competition.

7. MAJORITY OF U.S INTERNET USERS ARE NOW BUYING ONLINE – Still more plan to make their first online purchase in the next year

Consumer spending on the Internet increased considerably during the past two years and the average purchase amount increased as well, according to the CyberShopper ‘99 Survey of 1,000 American Internet users.

In 1999, 53 percent of American Internet users surveyed purchased an item online. That number doubled since 1997, when only 26 percent made a purchase online. Moreover, today’s consumers are spending an average of $206 per online purchase, up 38 percent in just the past 12 months. Although 36 percent of cybershoppers still are apprehensive about Internet security, their concern about credit card fraud while shopping online has dropped by about half since 1997, to 21 percent.

"As e-commerce sites have been marketed more effectively and technology has made it even easier for consumers to shop online, more Americans are turning to web sites for their shopping needs," said Ralph Armijo, president of Navidec Inc., one of the survey’s sponsors.

Many respondents say that because of being online, they are purchasing fewer products from retail stores (35 percent) and catalogs (38 percent). Armijo believes the Internet is becoming another distribution channel for retailers—and will be complimentary to traditional brick and mortar storefronts. However, more than two-thirds of online users (70 percent) agree that information they find while "shopping" on the Internet strongly influences their overall purchasing decisions.

"Buying online is no longer a novelty," Armijo said. "The Internet is an incredibly effective form of commerce. To succeed in this marketplace, companies need to become more technologically sophisticated and evolve their traditional business practices with e-business processes."

Overall satisfaction with online purchases remains extremely high—99 percent of respondents said they are at least somewhat satisfied with their purchases made off the Internet, with 79 percent report being very satisfied. The largest increase of online purchases comes from clothing or apparel—the proportion of online buyers for these goods jumped 149 percent since 1998. Another industry being heavily impacted by electronic is the auto industry with 83 percent of American Internet users who are in the market for a new vehicle planning to use the Internet in their purchase process. However, the products leading online sales are books and publications (52 percent), computer software (42 percent), and travel-related items (37 percent).

CyberShopper ‘99 is the third annual survey of the buying habits of America’s online population. More than 1,000 American Internet subscribers were surveyed via telephone. The margin of error for the total survey results is + 3.1 percentage points. This error margin increases in subgroups within the data. The survey, funded by automotive e-commerce company, Inc. and e-business solutions provider, Navidec Inc., is conducted annually by MGA Communications, a Denver-based marketing communications and research firm. The complete report can be purchased for $795 by calling 800.797.7565 or visiting

8. ITAA E-COMMERCE PROGRAMS: The eCustomer Intimacy Conference

One of the opportunities of Internet commerce is the potential for targeting and personalizing customer communication. However, this customization involves complex marketing, privacy and technological challenges. The eCustomer Intimacy Conference will be brimming with case histories of companies, large and small, that discovered the secrets of establishing and maintaining close customer-intimate relationships. These companies are reaching out to customers. They’re making it easy for customers to do business with them! Discover how companies are getting closer to their customers. How getting closer to customers increases revenues, decreases costs, and helps get a bigger share of each customer served. For more information, or to register, visit or Patricia Neri at 781-275-7493.

Join visionaries Martha Rogers, Patty Seybold, Jim Sterne, along with over 25 senior executive speakers from prominent companies to hear leading edge strategies for creating, building and managing relationships online.

ITAA members are entitled to a 10% discount off the registration fee. The E-customer Intimacy conference is October 13-15, 1999, at the DoubleTree Suites in Boston, MA.


ITAA hosts a series of Webcasts on topics on interest in eCommerce. The schedule can be found at ITAA 1999 eCommerce Webcast Schedule on our website. An ITAA Webcast is a multimedia presentation consisting of PowerPoint slides, pushed over the Internet (visual), and a simultaneous conference call (audio).

The user requirements are access to the Internet with a reasonably current version of a popular browser and a long distance phone line. The only cost to the member participants is the cost of the phone call to the conference center. Upon registration for a Webcast, the registrant will receive instructions and password for access to both the visual and audio portions off the presentation.

Once the participant is logged on to the URL and the conference call - no further action is necessary. The Webcasts generally last for one hour: 45 minutes for the presentation and 15 minutes for Q&A and Discussion. Register online at

ITAA and the GMU School of Law are also sponsoring a series of breakfast meetings focused on ECommerce featuring speakers from the legal community, the government and the business sector. It is planned to hold these briefings on the 4th Wednesday of each month.

8/18/99 1PM-2PM EDT


"BBOnLine and ITAA - Building Consumer Trust and Confidence on the Internet

8/1/8/99 8AM-9:30AM EDT


The Growing Impact of Information Technology on Business- Ernst Volgenau, President and CEO of SRA International, Inc

9/15/99 1PM-2PM EDT


The Electronic Posting System, Providing a "Single Point of Entry" –
Paul Fontaine, GSA

9/22/99 8AM-9:30AM EDT


Telecom Regulatory Reform

Former Atty. Gen. William P. Barr
Senior VP and General Counsel, GTE