E-legislation to cost UK plc `just pounds 500,000'

THE GOVERNMENT forecast yesterday that the cost to industry of complying with the new e-commerce Bill was only likely to reach pounds 500,000 in the first year.

The main compliance cost will be adhering to a new voluntary statutory approvals scheme for companies that want to offer electronic signature services to the businesses and the public.

Encryption services that can verify that the electronic signature on a transaction is genuine lie at the heart of e-commerce.

Ministers fear that unless individuals are confident that their unique electronic signatures cannot be tampered with or used by someone else, they will be reluctant to order goods online or send their credit-card details over the Internet. The Bill will give legal recognition for the first time to electronic signatures.

According to estimates published yesterday by the Department of Trade and Industry, the cost of the encryption approvals scheme could be between pounds 10,000 and pounds 30,000 for a medium-sized company and pounds 500,000 for industry overall in the first year. But the cost could be substantially higher, depending on whether an organisation was issuing electronic signature certificates to the public or managing encryption keys for a small number of customers.

Only a handful of organisations, such as BT and the Post Office, now offer encryption services, but as demand grows other organisations such as Internet service providers, banks and trade associations are likely to enter the market.

Publishing the Electronic Communications Bill yesterday, Patricia Hewitt, Minister for Small Business and E-Commerce, forecast that the costs of complying with the Bill would be far outweighed by the benefits it would bring in terms of lower transaction costs and increased sales opportunities. For example, the Government plans to use the powers under the Bill to allow companies to deliver annual reports and proxy votes electronically - a saving of pounds 10 per shareholder in printing and distribution costs alone.

A requirement for individuals to provide a copy of their "electronic key" to the police to help combat cybercrime has been dropped from the Bill. Powers to crack down on Net criminals, such as drug traffickers, terrorists and paedophiles, have also been switched from the e-commerce Bill into a Home Office investigatory powers Bill.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada