Top advisors to President Clinton have recommended that a free market is essential for the continued growth of Internet commerce. A draft report encourages the President to work with governments worldwide to prevent restrictions such as taxes and censorship cluttering up the World Wide Web.
An inter-agency taskforce headed by Ira Magaziner was set up seven months ago to prepare the report, entitled 'A framework for global electronic commerce', outlining the Internet policy that the Clinton administration ought to pursue. The report will shortly be made available for public and industry scrutiny.
The advisors have followed the line taken by the US Treasury Department, stating that the US government should use the World Trade Organisation to make the Internet a global duty free zone. The authors are critical of existing policies on encryption, citing them as examples of governments restricting the free market on the Internet.
Internet commerce, left unrestricted, is predicted to reach $7 billion in value by the turn of the millennium - seven times its estimated level now. The report implies that companies would not be prepared to commit themselves 100 per cent until they are reassured about the situation no future restrictions.
Privacy of information, according to the report, is a major concern to consumers. It suggests that companies ought to offer customers a code of practice outlining exactly how their information will be used by the company.
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