Institute Comments On Consumer Privacy And The Internet

Institute Comments On Consumer Privacy And The Internet

March 25, 1999

Washington, D.C., March 26, 1999 – In comments filed with the Federal Trade Commission today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute argued that the commission should resist calls for increased government oversight of electronic commerce.

In January, the Federal Trade Commission requested public comments on consumer protection in the global electronic marketplace.

The market already has safeguards for electronic privacy and anonymity, CEI pointed out. A number of institutions and programs exist that allow concerned consumers to protect themselves against most invasion. "People are learning more every day about the ways of e-commerce and the Net’s society and taking advantage of these opportunities," stated Researcch Associate Ananda Gupta, on behalf of CEI. "Government regulation can only stunt or slow this process."

CEI’s comments also examined the threat of unintended consequences of government oversight. "It will be impossible for Americans to develop technological common sense if the government imposes ‘training anchors’ – rules and regulations intended to protect them – but whose actual effects will not only include the stifling and slowing of e-commerce but the erosion of Americans’ self-taught familiarity with a new environment," Gupta stated. "The Internet’s growing pains and entry into the mainstream should not lead to its ‘dumbing-down.’"

CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, contact Emily McGee, director of media relations, at 202-331-1010.