The Internet has raised a variety of legal issues since it first became widely used in the mid-1990s, most in the area of consumer rights and protections. But because the Internet is relatively new, regulations affecting consumer rights have often lagged behind the development of e-commerce as important new revenue source for businesses in the United States.
At the end of the 1990s and beginning of the twenty-first century, legislation affecting consumer and business rights in areas such as privacy, cybersquatting, and electronic signatures was passed. This legislation marked some of the first attempts to regulate the Internet marketplace. Because the Internet is still changing and developing, these new laws will almost certainly not be the last in terms of Internet regulation. It remains to be seen what will develop for this extraordinarily powerful marketing and selling tool.