Designing Legislation to Facilitate Electronic Commerce on the Internet

February 1997

Rhode Island Bar Journal

Technological advancement has historically been an impetus for social change. In the past 40 years computers and more recently digitalization have transformed our lives. The commercial practice of law is responding to the challenge which technology is imposing on traditional notions of contract, banking and securities law. Companies' exchange of information electronically increases the speed. accuracy and efficiency of commercial transactions. Electronic data Interchange (EDI), which uses closed networks, has become a practical necessity for thousands businesses worldwide. A separate but parallel development is the commercialization of the internet which is an open network system. There are currently more than 30,000 companies which use the internet to conduct business. The first part of this article describes the increasing popularity of electronic commerce which may be conducted on the internet. The second part of this article examines the difficulties in implementing a reliable internet payment system.

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