Us and EU Regulatory Competition and Authentication Standards in Electronic Commerce

17 Pages Posted: 17 May 2006

See all articles by Jane K. Winn

Jane K. Winn

University of Washington - School of Law

Date Written: May 22, 2006


This article examines the role of law reform in promoting the development of technical standards for the authentication of parties engaged in Internet commerce. Law reforms intended to improve the security of Internet commerce can only succeed if they address business, technical and legal issues simultaneously. The EU has used commercial law reform and formal standard development to coordinate work on authentication standards, while the US has allowed the market to determine what type of authentication technology is appropriate and has left the development of standards to private consortia. While the EU approach may solve collective action problems more effectively, the US approach may discover end user requirements and may allow business judgments about risk to inform the law more effectively. Neither approach has yet resolved the authentication problems facing businesses engaged in online commerce.

Keywords: electronic commerce, Internet commerce, authentication, digital signature, public key infrastructure, electronic signature, identity management, commercial law, New Approach, internal market, regulatory competition, regulatory effectiveness, network effects, network externalities, collective action

Suggested Citation

Winn, Jane, Us and EU Regulatory Competition and Authentication Standards in Electronic Commerce (May 22, 2006). Available at SSRN: or

Jane Winn (Contact Author)

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States


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