and Brady join ICX board
Monday News Edition: 356 / 31 May 1999 / John Sterne
Two Dublin-based experts in electronic trading
and internet security, Pat O'Reilly and Michael Brady, have
been added to the board of the International Commerce Exchange
(ICX), a European forum which aims to raise users' trust and
confidence in secure e-commerce. Pat O'Reilly is chief executive
of eBizToday.com and Brady is the chief technology officer
at SSE, the Siemens company which O'Reilly headed until earlier
The International Commerce eXchange held
its third annual .conference in Dublin last week. The organization
is gradually expanding its board to draw in members from a
broader range of industries and from different regions of
Europe. Thus, ICX chairman Nick Mansfield explains, Pat O'Reilly
was chosen to represent the interests of Europe's small and
medium enterprises on the board.
The existing members include executives
from Arthur Andersen, Telecom Italia and two post offices.
Mansfield's own employer is Shell Services International in
the Netherlands, where he holds a senior consulting post.
The ICX, he explains, started life in the
mid-nineties as a discussion forum on the risks and relationships
in electronic commerce. Large enterprises were starting to
invest in an uncharted area, where security was problematic
and new inter-company dependencies were emerging. None of
the industry's existing IT organizations or professional bodies
were addressing the implementation issues. The ICX therefore
was therefore formed to pool the collective wisdom of e-commerce
The European Commission agreed to sponsor
the new association and financed an initial project which
had three main aims. One was to establish the ICX itself as
a self-funding non-profit organization. The second was to
build a secure electronic commerce model with a knowledge
base that could be consulted through the internet. The third
deliverable was the kernel of a training package to guide
organizations, particularly smaller firms, through the planning
and development of secure online trading services.
'Our idea,' Nick Mansfield says, 'was to
create a roundabout in cyberspace. You can get connected off
the roundabout with sites that can answer your questions.
We also collected the knowledge that was lying around our
own organizations and put it into the secure model.'
The EU-funded study is coming to an end
- the final deliverables are due next month - and the ICX
is now reorganizing itself around three working groups. It
is also expanding its board beyond the participants in the
EU project. There are nine members today and more will probably
be added. Nick Mansfield is particularly keen to get a banking
expert into the group, preferably from a country where the
ICX is not already represented.
In addition, he reports, the OECD and the
International Chambers of Commerce have asked the IXC to participate
in the World Electronic Commerce Conference in Australia next
November. Nick Mansfield cites this invitation as evidence
that the work of the ICX is starting to receive global recognition.
The ICX approach to the societal, legal
and ethical aspects of secure electronic commerce could be
seen at last week's conference.
In one discussion, for example, speakers
asked whether existing data protection legislation will suffice
when online traders acquire tools that let them conduct for
transactions anonymously or through pseudonyms. Will US companies
gain competitive advantages over their European counterparts
because North Americans are more tolerant of the 'cookies'
that gather information on web users' behaviour? And will
today's attitudes to data privacy seem archaic to future generations
that will trade their personal information for goods or services
as part of everyday life?