Briefs: Online Trading Jumps

FRAMINGHAM (05/05/2000) - The online brokerage industry surged in the first quarter, gaining more than 2.5 million accounts and rising 69% in trading volumes from the previous quarter, according to a report issued by U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffrey Inc. in Minneapolis. Assets also grew impressively, rising 23.5% from last quarter to more than $1 trillion. Charles Schwab & Co. in San Francisco held on to the top spot, followed by ETrade Group Inc. in Palo Alto, California.

Read My Bits: No New Taxes

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee voted last week to extend the ban on new and discriminatory Internet taxes by five years. The ban, established by the Internet Tax Freedom Act, was set to expire in October next year. The new bill, called the Internet Non-Discrimination Act, extends the ban to October 2006.

The vote was 29 to 8. The full House may vote on the act this week.

Congress Drops Database Protection

U.S. Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, one of the Republican party leaders on technology issues, said last week that database protection legislation won't be approved this year. The legislation would protect databases from businesses that copy and then resell the contents as their own. But various proposals on the database protection issue have divided the industry, "and I just don't see this Congress acting in ways that split the industry in an election year," Davis said.

Privacy Site Launches

Privacy Council Inc. in Dallas last week launched an Internet-based source for information on business and legal issues relating to privacy. The site, www.privacycouncil.com, maintains a free library of state, federal and international privacy-law documents. Companies can use the site's automated privacy statement generator to create a privacy policy statement in English, Spanish and German at no charge.

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