Canadian Concerns Canvass for ‘Cybercourt’

A coalition of Canadian business leaders hopes to turn Canada into the Switzerland of the Internet, according to a Wall Street Journal report today.

The Canadian entrepreneurs aspire to enlist U.S. industry participation in a plan to draw up global e-commerce standards and to create the first tribunal for business-related Web disputes, the report said.

An alliance of 31 Canadian companies that promotes Web retailing, including Nortel Networks Corp. [NYSE:NT], the Canadian unit of International Business Machines Corp. [NYSE:IBM], and major banks and retailers, reportedly said the planned standards will focus on e- business ethics and security.

Application Pending

Companies voluntarily participating and meeting the agreed-upon standards would receive a seal of approval on their Web site, the report said, and added that the group has applied to the Canadian government for funding and to appoint a panel of Ottawa-based judges who would settle disputes through binding arbitration.

The Journal quotes Boston Consulting Group Senior VP David Pecaut, which is part of the coalition, as declaring, “This will literally be a small-claims court for e-commerce.” Pecaut reportedly added that the group will consider funding the cybercourt itself, if the Canadian government refuses to underwrite the project.

The coalition said it will focus a lobbying effort on U.S. Internet leaders such as Microsoft Corp. [Nasdaq:MSFT] and America Online Inc. [NYSE:AOL], and will discuss the scheme with companies in Europe and Asia, the Journal reported.

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