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Ethical Issues in E-Commerce

Ethical Issues in E-Commerce

E-Commerce is a platform where involve exchange of product and services over the internet. This trading process take the form of ,Online shopping web sites for retail sales direct to consumers, Providing or participating in online marketplaces, which process third-party business-to-consumer or consumer-to-consumer sales , Business-to-business buying and selling , Gathering and using demographic data through web contacts and social media, Business-to-business electronic data interchange , Marketing to prospective and established customers by e-mail or fax (for example, with newsletters) , Engaging in pre-retail for launching new products and services , Online financial exchanges for currency exchanges or trading purposes.

For effective complete of E-commerce system process and services , it requires some third parties communities such online banking platform, electronic data interchange, Mobile platform and internet connections. The idea of conducting trade over internet has brought some advantage to both producers and consumers these are time saving as reduce time to travel for shopping malls, Make shopping flexible as one can make orders at their comfort. Nevertheless, the good things that came with commercialization of e-commerce’s, there are some adverse effects of ethical issues that precipitate and need to be paying attention for its fullness. These issues are Online privacy, web spoofing, cyber-squatting, phishing and web tracking.

Web tracking

Every time someone visit the web, the website system retains some trails of the users that can be refer later, this trails are normal call logs. These logs contains all the records pertains to what the users perform in the site. Logs as records mean, they can be retrieve or save for later use.

Analysis of log file means turning log data into application service or installing software that can pluck relevant information from files in-house. Companies track individual’s movement through tracking software and cookie analysis. Programs such as cookies raise a batch of privacy concerns. The tracking history is stored on your PC’s hard disk, and any time you revisit a website, the computer knows it. Many smart end users install programs such as Cookie cutters, Spam Butcher, etc which can provide users some control over the cookies. The battle between computer end users and web trackers is always going on with a range of application programs. For example, software such as Privacy Guardian, My Privacy, etc can protect user’s online privacy by erasing browser’s cache, surfing history and cookies. To detect and remove spyware specially designed programs like Ad-Aware are present. A data miner application, collects and combines Internet browsing history of users and sends it to servers. The battle goes on!

Online Privacy

Most Electronic Payment Systems knows the identity of the buyer. So it is necessary to protect the identity of a buyer who uses Electronic Payment System. A privacy issue related to the employees of company is tracking. Monitoring systems are installed in many companies to monitor e-mail and other web activities in order to identify employees who extensively use business hours for non-business activities. The e-commerce activities performed by a buyer can be tracked by organizations. These activities of monitoring customers raise ethical issues on how secure and anonymous information are being handle by the e-commerce providers.

Web Spoofing

Web spoofing is an electronic deception relates to the Internet. It occurs when the attacker sets up a fake website which almost totally same with the original website in order to lure consumers to give their credit card number or other personal information. For example is the attacker setup a site called www.jumiaa.com using addiction of later ‘a’ at the end, which many users sometimes type by mistake. Users might find themselves in a situation that they do not notice they are using a bogus web-site and give their credit card details or other information.

Also See: Business Information Systems Assignments


Cybersquatting is an activity which a person or firm register, purchase and uses the existing domain name belong to the well-known organization for the purpose of infringing its trademarks. This type of person or firm, called cyber-squatters usually infringed the trademarks to extort the payment from original trademark’s owner. The extortion of payment occur when they offers the prices far greater than they had purchased the organization’s domain name upon. Some cyber-squatters put up offensive remarks about the person or company which the domain is meant to represent in an effort to encourage the subject to re-buy their domain from them.

Privacy Invasion

The privacy invasion occur when the personal details belong to consumers are exposed to the unauthorized party. These can be seen in the following ways.

  • The personal information of consumers being transmit may be intercepted by anyone other than the person whom it is intended. Protecting the privacy of communication is a great challenge, due to the very nature of the online medium, an open network of digital telecommunications. It is technically and economically impossible to patch all the holes through which unauthorized intruders may gain access.
  • Malicious programs delivered quietly via web pages could reveal credit card numbers, usernames, and passwords that are frequently stored in special files called cookies. Because the internet is stateless and cannot remember a response from one web page view to another, cookies help solve the problem of remembering customer order information or usernames or passwords.

Email Spamming & phishing

E-mail spamming involved unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE) sent or broadcast unwanted advertisement or correspondence over the Internet. The use of e-mail spammers meant to lure consumers to enter their personal information on fake website using e-mail, forged to look like it is from authorized organization such as bank. The content of e-mail often directs the consumers to the fake website in order to lure them to fill their personal information such as credit card or bank account’s details. This technique is called phishing. And these illegal process easily compromised the user's right and expose to danger.

Intellectual Property Theft and Copyright Trolls

The basic cut-and-paste allows anyone with Internet access to directly copy the original works of another. Text, photos, music, artwork and ideas routinely move from the creators to the copiers, with no permission for use granted or sought. The victim of this theft only has recourse if he's registered a copyright and then wants to spend the time and trouble to write demand letters and threaten lawsuits. At the other end of the ethical spectrum, "copyright trolls" buy the rights to movies, books and music, threaten mass lawsuits against thousands of people found to be downloading the material and demand a quick settlement from each of them.

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