By the summer of 2000, an estimated 90 million United States citizens used the Internet regularly, at least 69 percent of whom purchased goods and services online. As electronic commerce grew, e-businesses implemented technologies to facilitate the online shopping experience. Such technologies included “cookies,” which are small files a website's host computer places on a visitor's hard drive. Cookies allow a website to “remember” information provided by the visitor—such as her password, email address, credit card number, and mailing address—so she does not have to reenter the data on her next visit. They also allow website operators to track a consumer's purchasing habits, monitor how long she views pages on the site, and learn other information about the consumer while she explores the World Wide Web. In June 2001, experts in online privacy law and policy gathered for a conference hosted by the Technology Law Center at the University of Maine School of Law. The conference included a discussion on federal, state, and European privacy initiatives presented by the following panelists: Bryan Harris, former head of the Intellectual Property Division of the Commission of the European Communities and currently an adjunct professor of European Union Law at Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire; Laura Mazzarella, attorney in the Division of Financial Practices of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection; Mary Ellen Callahan, associate attorney in the Washington, D.C. office of Hogan & Hartson LLP, practicing in the areas of antitrust, consumer protection, and litigation; and James Tierney, former Attorney General for the State of Maine and currently a Fellow with the Cyberspace Law Institute. Susan Richey, Professor of Law at Franklin Pierce Law Center, moderated the discussion.

First Page