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U.S. Government Works Toward Electronic Commerce Standards

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RALEIGH — Many of us are turning to the Internet to shop, but pushing a shopping cart down the information superhighway can be a bumpy ride. A multi-national group hopes to come up with electronic commerce standards that will be adopted by companies doing business on the Internet.

While buying products online is easy and generally safe, some people do not yet "buy" e-commerce. Privacy, security, and customer service are primary issues and concerns.

"I know the technology these days does prevent people from accessing the information, but I'm still uncomfortable with it," says Internet user Christina Rye.

Companies likeABBuse the Internet to promote products.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce William Daley promotes U.S. business around the world. The Commerce Department is working to make electronic business more secure and more comfortable for consumers.

"We've been trying to work with our sister agencies in the government and, more importantly, with the private sector to get them to acknowledge that they've got to take steps," says Daley on a visit to the Triangle.

An industry group is working on e-commerce standards to satisfy consumers in the areas of privacy, security and customer service.

"They should know who they're buying from, they should know the policies of privacy and return policies, all those things they would take for granted in a store," says Daley.

Some consumers take e-commerce on faith.

"I guess you could run into some problems, but I guess I kind of believe that it works," says Internet user Dave Griffin.

Some businesses do not believe in e-commerce at all.

"A lot of companies are thinking more likely that they don't want to go into it because they are afraid that there's something that might just happen that would not benefit their company," says Enid Bonilla, of E-Trading Global Services.

Despite the issues, e-commerce continues to grow, but maybe not in Secretary Daley's home.

"Even though there's been an explosion of e-tailing, as it's called, I'm still one of those that's more comfortable probably going to the mall," admits Daley.

The group trying to set these new standards meets Tuesday.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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