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John Dickie argues that the European Union is failing adequately to protect consumers' critical interests in the area of e-commerce. The author compares the Union's close and rapidly enacted protection of producers' critical interests in e-commerce, in terms of authorship and in 'domain-identity', with its faltering steps towards protection of consumers' corresponding interests, seen in terms of fair trading, privacy and (on behalf of children) morality.
The author assesses the threats posed to these disparate interests, the extent to which self-help can and does neutralise those threats and, as regards any gaps left, the extent to which the Union has stepped into the breach. The argument is an important one as economic data shows that consumers within the Union currently lack confidence in cross-border e-commerce, a motor of integration par excellence.