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RealTime IT News

Government Taps E-Commerce Chief

President Clinton has named Elizabeth B. Echols to the newly-created position of executive director of the Electronic Commerce Working Group, an e-commerce task force.

According to The New York Times, Echols' chief job will be coordinating the numerous agencies that are involved in helping the government set e-commerce policies. She also said a primary concern would be online consumer protection and to develop a worldwide e-commerce framework.

Echols, 39, a lawyer and former investment banker, was most recently the senior advisor to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Administrator Larry Irving. Earlier this month Irving announced he would leave his position and will be succeeded by Gregory Rohde, a legislative assistant to Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat.

The Electronic Commerce Working Group task force was initiated last fall by Ira C. Magaziner, formerly the Clinton Administration's point man on Internet policy. After Magaziner resigned, David Beier was named chairman of the group. He will remain chairman and will be assisted by Echols.

"My job is really to coordinate the numerous agencies that are involved. There are at least 12 federal agencies that are working in electronic commerce. The idea is to have one central place at the White House where we can work together and shape one Administration policy," she told The Times.

"Obviously, the different agencies will bring their expertise and mandates to the table. We want to make sure we have one coordinated, cohesive policy."

In addition to focusing on consumer protection, other policy issues Echols will concentrate on include furthering broadband Internet access for Americans.