If the IT industry fails to get its act together on Internet privacy, the US government will step in, US vice president Al Gore warned industry leaders. The vice president was addressing the World Congress on Information Technology in Fairfax, Virginia, via a satellite video link-up. He reiterated threats made by the Department of Commerce the day before, to pass privacy laws if a workable self-regulatory scheme could not be worked out. ?We must have enforceable rules of privacy for ecommerce," Gore said. A year ago, president Bill Clinton appointed William Daley to study industry attempts to self-regulate. On the basis of his report, Gore said: "We will decide whether private industry has done enough." If not, Gore admonished Congress attendees, the US government would act. On Tuesday, Daley himself addressed the World Congress, and he strongly suggested his report might be negative, a fact borne out by a dismissive reaction by his Department yesterday to industry proposals (see Newswire 24 June). ?In the last year, our approach has basically been that the private sector should lead?, Daley said. ?But frankly, it?s also the government?s duty to make sure that companies do behave right, and do lead." Daley said that he would report to the president next month. ?Time is running out and things could still happen that may affect our decision in a positive way," he warned. Daley acknowledged the efforts of the newly formed Privacy Alliance and other groups. ?We are encouraged that the industry does plan to police itself, [but we] told them that articulating principles just is not adequate, there must be a way to enforce this." In his brief address, Gore also discussed the Year 2000 problem and urged US businesses to act. He specifically asked large corporations, which are generally well advanced towards solving their own problems, to aid their small and medium-sized suppliers to address the issue.
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