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With the growth of the Internet, concerns have arisen over the legal and ethical issues that surround e-commerce

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Introduction

With the growth of the Internet, concerns have arisen over the legal and ethical issues that surround e-commerce. The Internet is constantly evolving, and as it develops it will be affect more and more people, and "Security and privacy concerns along with e-business regulatory issues will become more prevalent (Warholic, 2007). The Internet appears to be particularly vulnerable to scams of various kinds; thus it is more important than ever that e-businesses be conducted ethically (Warholic, 2007). One of the areas of great concern is that of intellectual property (Warholic, 2007). This is complex enough to manage in the ordinary course of events; when we move onto the Internet, it can become even more difficult (Warholic, 2007). When in a B2B or B2C (business to business or business to consumer) environment, "there is a major degree of trust and responsibility that is imparted to a person or group that maintains the Web site" (Warholic, 2007). It is vital that the information provided about the company and its products and services are factual (Warholic, 2007). ...read more.

Middle

These include; a damaged reputation and long-term loss of trust that can result in loss of business" (Mackrodt, 2004). Dealing with companies internationally has opened up many new markets, but it brings with it a great many problems as well, because laws are different in different countries. Perhaps more disturbing to most people in the West, ethics are different as well, so that what might be considered unethical in the United States is acceptable elsewhere (Mackrodt, 2004). For instance, many Western nations have a much greater concern for privacy than Asian countries do; and "Many European countries have laws that prohibit companies from exchanging consumer data without the express consent of the consumer" (Mackrodt, 2004). It would be ideal if we had developed a set of universal guidelines for e-commerce, but that has not occurred, nor is it likely ever to occur, because cultures differ so widely. Most companies and professional organizations have codes of ethics that guide their employees and members in their conduct; one source says that ethical and legal issues can be categorized into "privacy, intellectual property rights, free speech versus censorship and consumer and merchant protection against fraud" (Mackrodt, 2004). ...read more.

Conclusion

The second conclusion is also interesting: the group asks, "within the ways those issues are solved Who is setting the labeling vocabulary and the criteria for assigning labels, who is rating the web sites?" (Berleur, Duquenoy and Whitehouse, 1999). As noted above, since we are dealing with a communications medium that spans the globe, these are not trivial concerns. Finally, Fleenor and Raven note that economies are not developing at the same rate everywhere, which means that some nations will be ready to begin e-commerce ventures long before others, which will be "one more requirement heaped on the plates of struggling developing countries to prevent their isolation and loss of competitiveness" (Fleenor and Raven). Conclusion Unfortunately, because the Internet is still evolving, there are no answers to the legal and ethical concerns of e-businesses, at least not yet. It is suggested that there are certain things that are probably illegal and unethical all over the globe (child pornography, for example), but even that is uncertain given cultural differences. Because we do not yet have-and may never have-a "handbook" of rules and regulations for conducting e-commerce that can be applied successfully in a global setting, it is even more important that e-commerce be conducted in a lawful and ethical manner. ...read more.

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