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What is the e-commerce bill?

The Government last year published and passed through Parliament an e-commerce bill. At the time it was published, the PCG presented the first ever e-Petition to Parliament calling for a rethink on IR35.

The aims of the e-commerce bill are to help regulate the establishment of a healthy environment for trading over the Internet in the UK. Principally it has established the use of digital signatures. Early drafts of the bill included controversial plans for encryption and keys. Businesses both large and small successfully lobbied against these. These requirements were dropped from the eCommerce, but were resurrected later by the Home Office in their own Regulation of Investigatory Power bill, this was pushed through Parliament in May this to the dismay of industry groups.

The PCG were invited earlier this year to make a submission to the House of Lords Select Committee on e-commerce. This was duly made and the Select Committee are due to publish their report in July 2000.

What is the PCG doing about the e-commerce bill?

The PCG aims to represent the interests of the independent contractor on the premise that legislation should not become burdensome and so costly that it will close avenues of opportunity. There is a danger that the Government only views the computing sector in terms of big business only. It is a goal of the PCG to raise the profile of the freelance sector and show how important the sector is to the success, growth and flexibility of the economy.

Our submission can be found in the resource section.