convergence of computer and telecommunications technologies has revolutionized
how we get, store, retrieve, and share information. Consumers now routinely
use computer networks to identify sellers, evaluate products and services,
compare prices, and exert market leverage. Electronic commerce (e-commerce)
are business processes which shift transactions to the Internet. E-commerce
is growing at a rapid rate. The value of e-commerce transactions, while
still small relative to the size of the U.S. economy, continues to show
strong growth despite a recent economic downturn. More significant than
the dollar amount of these transactions, however, are the new business
processes. Many new Internet-based companies and traditional producers
of goods and services are working to transform their business processes
into e-commerce processes in an effort to lower costs, improve customer
service, and increase productivity, with varying degrees of success.
The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced in May 2008
that U.S. retail e-commerce sales for 2006 reached $ 107 billion, up from $ 87 billion in 2005 - an increase of 22 percent. From 2001 to 2006, retail e-sales increased at an average annual growth rate of of 25.4 percent, compared with 4.8 percent for total retail sales. In 2006 e-commerce sales were 2.7 percent of total sales.
Over 90 percent of retail e-sales were concentrated in two industry groups: Nonstore retailers (73 percent, $78 billion), and Motor Vehicles and Parts Dealer (19 percent, $20 billion)
are a range of policy issues which will certainly affect the future
of e-commerce activities. Internet use erases national boundaries, and
the growth of e-commerce on the Internet and the complexity of these
issues mean that domestic and global e-commerce policies will become
increasingly intertwined. Issues currently under discussion include
Internet taxation, encryption and electronic authentication (i.e., digital
signatures), intellectual property protection (i.e., patent or copyright
infringement), computer network security, privacy safeguards for individuals
and organizations, and telecommunications infrastructure development.
In the United States, legislation enacted as a result of the terrorist
attacks of September 11, 2001(USA PATRIOT ACT of 2001, P.L. 107-56)
gave U.S. lawmakers greater authority to gain access to electronic financial
transactions (for example, to ferret out illegal money laundering).
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