Addressing the legal and ethical issues of electronic commerce.
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Contents Introduction 3 Definition 4 Legal & Ethical Issues 4 Privacy 5 Website Self-Registration 5 Cookies 6 Protection 6 Self Regulation 6 Legislation 7 Intellectual Property 8 Copyright 8 Patents 8 Registered Trademarks 9 Domain Names 9 Free Speech 10 Protecting Children 10 Measures being taken in the UK 11 Controlling Spam 12 Methods of Control 13 Taxation 13 California Considers Online Sales Tax 13 What Sellers Have To Say 14 Watching from the Sidelines 14 Keeping Tech Businesses Going 15 Computer Crimes 16 Consumer and Seller Protection 18 Summary 20 Appendix A 21 TRUSTe's Consumer Privacy Protection Guidelines Appendix B 23 The rights of data subjects and data users Appendix C 24 Views of Internet Freedom Appendix D 25 Computer Security Institute 2002 Computer and Crime Survey Appendix E 26 Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 Bibliography 27 Introduction "Jane remembers her parents saying they spent a lot of time getting the kids off to school and then fighting their way into work through rush-hour traffic to sit at a desk in front of a big square box that would often 'crash'. Thank heavens life is so much easier now. Rush hours were eliminated years ago: Jane works when it suits her, and carries her office around in her pocket. The files she needs from work fit on a square-inch memory chip. Anything else she wants, including the three dozen newspapers and magazines she likes to skim regularly, she can get anywhere from the web. Sometimes she still meets her colleagues in the same room for 'face time', but she thinks this is overrated. Usually three-dimensional video does just as well." "Dick is depressed. He does not feel it is enough to talk to Jane on video a dozen times a day, and get together a few times a week for sex. Yes, watching the football together last night via video was fun, and Jane picked some great camera angles to look at the game from.
Taxation At the end of 19th century, the question was how to tax commerce via the telegraph; at the end of the 20th century, the question is how to tax commerce via the internet. It's not an idle question; recent estimates suggest that business-to-business e-commerce will reach $1.3 trillion by the year 2003. Needless to say, governments are concerned to make sure that the anonymity and boundary-less nature of the Internet doesn't lead to a reduction in their tax income. The extract from the CNN website below highlights some of the thinking regarding Internet taxation in the United States. (Http://www.e-tax.org.uk) California considers online sales tax SACRAMENTO, California (AP) -- With his state staring at a budget deficit that could hit $35 billion, California Gov. Gray Davis is rethinking his longstanding objection to imposing sales taxes on Internet commerce -- a move that could ignite similar steps around the nation. With states around the country facing a collective $50 billion budget gap this year and $70 billion next year, lawmakers are increasingly eyeing online revenues to plug their shortfalls. Last year, Internet sales ballooned to $79 billion, or about 3 percent of all retail sales, according to Forrester Research. California alone may be losing $1.7 billion this year by not taking a deeper cut of Internet sales, which is why two bills to tax Internet sales have been filed in the Legislature. What sellers have to say If either were to pass, the movement to tax Internet sales would gain serious clout, said Utah Tax Commissioner R. Bruce Johnson, a leader of the push. "It's difficult to overstate the importance of California's participation in this project," he said. A U.S. Supreme Court decision says states cannot force businesses to collect their sales taxes unless the company has a physical presence in that state. While California stores with online sites faithfully collect sales taxes for the state, most online sellers such as Seattle-based Amazon.com say it's impossible to collect sales taxes for an estimated 7,500 taxing districts nationally.
(Freedom and Safety don't mix. 01-Feb-2003 | Chris Evans, Founder ). (Http//www.netfreedom.org/news.asp?item=198) Appendix D * Ninety percent of respondents (primarily large corporations and government agencies) detected computer security breaches within the last twelve months. * Eighty percent acknowledged financial losses due to computer breaches. * Forty-four percent (223 respondents) were willing and/or able to quantify their financial losses. These 223 respondents reported $455,848,000 in financial losses. * As in previous years, the most serious financial losses occurred through theft of proprietary information (26 respondents reported $170,827,000) and financial fraud (25 respondents reported $115,753,000). * For the fifth year in a row, more respondents (74%) cited their Internet connection as a frequent point of attack than cited their internal systems as a frequent point of attack (33%). * Thirty-four percent reported the intrusions to law enforcement. (In 1996, only 16% acknowledged reporting intrusions to law enforcement.) * Twelve percent reported theft of transaction information. * Six percent reported financial fraud (only 3% in 2000). Appendix E The Distance Selling Regulations require that a consumer must be given: * clear information before placing an order; * certain written information and confirmation of their purchase; * a cooling off period during which they may cancel their order without reason and where a full refund must be made; and * a full refund if the goods or services are not provided by an agreed date or within 30 days of placing an order if no date is agreed. The information which must be given before an order is placed is fairly basic and includes:- * identity of the supplier; * in the case of payment in advance - his address; * the main characteristic of the goods or services; * the price including VAT and delivery costs; * the arrangements for performance; * the existence of the right to withdraw; * the cost of using the means of communication where it is calculated other than at the basic rate; * the period (if any) for which the offer or price remains valid; and * the minimum duration of the contract.
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