In remarks before the Plenary Session on Cyberspace Jurisdiction at the American Bar Association 2000 Annual Meeting in London, England, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Robert Pitofsky discusses the special legal challenges of the new global electronic marketplace. Pitofsky addresses how to best develop a marketplace that offers safety for consumers and predictability for business.
Pitofsky's remarks discuss jurisdiction and choice of law for cross-border consumer transactions on the Internet, a key issue in building consumer confidence online. His speech considers the drawbacks for consumers of the "country-of-origin" approach - advocated by ABA's Cyberspace Jurisdiction Project - and the "prescribed-by-seller" approach, under which consumers could not rely on their country's core protections. He proposes that neither be adopted except in very limited circumstances. The Chairman also recommends addressing industry's concerns about the current "rule of destination" system by providing more guidance about liability exposure and working toward increased uniformity of international consumer protections in appropriate areas.
Apart from the jurisdictional issue, Pitofsky calls for further progress in promoting alternative dispute resolution as "an efficient way to provide consumer remedies and reduce the risk of businesses being haled into courts around the world." The Chairman also discusses other ways to prevent disputes, like trustmarks, codes of conduct, and escrow programs, and praises private sector activity in this area.
Pitofsky calls for increased cross-border judgment recognition and enforcement for both private and public actions in order "to give consumers access to real remedies and hold businesses accountable for their practices." Finally, Pitofsky urges law enforcers worldwide to increase information sharing and cooperation.
Copies of Chairman Pitofsky's remarks are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; toll free at 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
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