International

OECD Issues New eCommerce Guidelines

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a consortium of 34 nations worldwide, said Monday that it has issued new, revised guidelines geared toward protecting consumers, and expanding their trust, as they conduct eCommerce. The Federal Trade Commission, in turn, said it welcomed those rules.

The newest rules, as noted by the FTC, update and replace those adopted in 1999, when eCommerce principles were outlined in conjunction with all of the OECD countries, which at the time numbered 29.  Rules tied to guidelines back then were focused on privacy and secure payment mechanisms, and also clear processes for confirming transactions. The newest guidelines, as might be expected, address the newest developments in the eCommerce realm, with a nod toward services that wend their way across consumer data, mobile payments and direct consumer to consumer interaction.

This is all part of the OECD’s “trust agenda” which is slated to be addressed at the June OECD Ministerial on the Digital Economy.

As noted in the announcement for the latest eCommerce framework, the FTC is the lead agency for the United States working with the OECD’s consumer policy committee, which also spearheaded the eCommerce guidelines revisions.

There’s certainly room for improvement, as the organization noted in recent research, which showed that only one person in eight made an online purchase as recently as 2014. What held back more activity in eCommerce? Security and privacy of data, according to respondents to surveys.  As such, said the OECD, businesses should fairly present all terms of conditions related to transactions.

Also of priority, said the OECD, consumer protection laws should cover online apps and services that are offered to consumers free of charge – but in return for access to that user’s personal data.

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