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HEARD ON THE BEAT

We Mean You No Harm:

September 15, 1997|KAREN KAPLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER; Karen Kaplan (karen.kaplan @latimes.com) covers technology and careers

Scores of high-tech companies gathered at the Internet Commerce Expo in Los Angeles last week and peddled products they said would finally turn the global computer network into a worldwide shopping mall.

But leaders of several companies on the forefront of Internet commerce agreed at a panel discussion Tuesday that human behavior--not technology--is the biggest obstacle to widespread cybershopping.

"It's not a question of technological capability to do a transaction but whether there's a willingness to shop," said Deborah Triant, chief executive of Check Point Software Technologies Inc., the Redwood City firm the makes network security software.

Even concerns about secure transactions are rooted in irrational fear more than technological reality, the executives said.

"You don't hear a lot of stories of people losing hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Web because, frankly, it's not happening a lot," said Brian Bell, vice president of the emerging products group at Cambridge, Mass.-based Lotus Development Corp.

Karen Kaplan (karen.kaplan @latimes.com) covers technology and careers.

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