Bits & Bytes
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) has indicated that the Senate may discuss legislation in May that would place a five-year moratorium on new taxes on commerce conducted over the Internet, according to the Congressional Quarterly Monitor.
President Clinton recently voiced support for an e-tax moratorium. The Direct Marketing Association has said that taxes on Internet purchases could pave the way for new catalog taxes.
Lott said negotiations with state governors who are wary of a national freeze on Internet taxes would have to take place before any action was taken. But according to the report, he now seemed more inclined to enact some type of moratorium than he did last month, when he said he would block the legislation until an agreement with the governors could be reached.
"I want to give the governors a chance to be heard and to make their case," Lott said.
Study: Security, Privacy Top Web Concerns
A study conducted by search engine firm Lycos, Framingham, MA, has shown that cybercitizens' greatest concerns are credit-card transaction security, privacy and free access to information. Online violence and pornography ranked lower on the list.
Eighty-six percent of the respondents were concerned about the security of their credit card numbers being transmitted over the Internet; 75 percent were concerned with the safeguarding of their privacy; and 73 percent expressed concern over special interest groups wanting to restrict what is made available over the Internet.
47 Percent of Banks to Offer Online Banking
Close to 47 percent of U.S. banks will offer online banking by December, according to a General Accounting Office survey of 349 banks released last week by Rep. James A. Leach (R-IA), chairman of the House Banking and Financial Services Committee.
Currently, 7 percent offer online banking services. The GAO also reported that nearly 20 percent of the banks that offer online services have experienced attempts at unauthorized access to online banking accounts. One bank reported a successful attempt at unauthorized access.
Leach has asked that the GAO look into federal regulatory efforts regarding online banking.
Slate Halfway Toward Goal
Online magazine Slate, Redmond, WA, announced at this month's Jupiter Communications Consumer Online Conference in New York that it had signed up more than 10,000 paid subscribers.
The publication is halfway toward its goal of 20,000 paid subscribers within the first few months of a subscription drive. Slate, which is published by the Microsoft Corp., just began charging $19.95 for a one-year online subscription.
Dow Jones Gives D&B Access
Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co. has announced that in April it will give customers of Dow Jones Interactive (http://djinteractive.com) access to Dun & Bradstreet business and financial information on nearly 11 million public and private companies.
This fall, Dow Jones Interactive customers also will be able to access Dun & Bradstreet's WorldBase, which has marketing information on more than 48 million companies.