The first international conference on the law of the Internet served as the platform for the announcement of an effort to establish the Internet Law Task Force (ILTF) to facilitate the progressive development of law and public policy in the global information age.
The ILTF will provide an international forum for issues related to the use and growth of the Internet including: evolution of the business practices and legal instruments to assure the validity and acceptance of digital transactions; property rights; privacy; and the elimination of legal barriers to Internet commerce and electronic transactions.
"We need to accelerate at the global level the development of solutions borne of consensus," stated Peter Harter, former executive director and general counsel of National Public Telecomputing Network, and now public policy counsel of Netscape Communications, who first advanced the ILTF concept.
"Developing standards and practices to protect digital information and promote the integrity of electronic markets is essential for extending the Internet to developing countries and nations in transition," said Jeffrey Ritter, a legal advisor to the United Nations on the automation of international trade. "Quite simply, without an established framework, the Internet faces a confusing, and potentially disabling, assortment of national laws seeking to govern a global environment," Ritter added.
Seattle-based Discovery Institute, will provide initial organizatinal support for the ILTF. The organizing committee will be jointly chaired by Albert Gidari, a partner with the Seattle-based law firm Perkins Coie and senior fellow of Discover Institute; Harter; and Ritter, program director for ECLIPS, a research program of the Ohio Supercomputer Center.
"Our goal is to mature the ILTF into an operating non-governmental organization as soon as practicable, but ILTF must be a collaborative operation. We look forward to seeking and obtaining broad-based support for moving ahead." the organizers said.
The Internet Law Symposium '95, hosted by the Discovery Institute, was the first conference devoted to analyzing the legal aspects of an evolving global space. Bruce Chapman, President of Discovery Institute, announced that most of those attending added their names to the global listserv--an electronic discussion group--established for continuing dialogue on the structure and direction of the ILTF.
The concept has attracted widespread interest from industry, which has grown increasingly concerned by the growing efforts of governments to attempt to regulate the Internet. According to Harter, since the early dialogue on the need for an ILTF, over one hundred interested organizations and professionals from four continents have urged establishment of the ILTF.
"For commerce to succeed in cyberspace greater certainty, not inconsistent regulatory regimes around the globe, is needed," Gidari said.