At the early ages of its emergence, the Internet only became the platform to search information and to communicate by each others. But now, we can say that Internet has been commercialized (thus the term e-commerce emerge).
Nowadays, we can see almost all trading and business activities including banking can be done online. This trend give a lot of advantages both to consumers and business organizations.
However, the bad side about e-commerce also cannot be ignored. What I mean the bad side is about the ethical issue in e-commerce. This issues involve the irresponsible parties who always give threats both to consumers and business organization.
In this article, I will explain some ethical issues which always surround the world of e-commerce. See below.
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.micros0ft.com using the number zero in place of the letter O, 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.
Cyber-squatting 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 derogatory remarks about the person or company which the domain is meant to represent (eg: www.walmartsucks.com), in an effort to encourage the subject to re-buy their domain from them. The following picture will worth explain the example of cyber-squatting.
This issue is related to consumer. The privacy invasion occur when the personal details belong to consumers are exposed to the unauthorized party. It may occur in THREE ways.
i. Electronic commerce businesses buy information about individuals such as their personal details, shopping habits and web page visitation listings. This can be done with or without the individual’s knowledge by using different computing technologies. A large number of web sites, which require users to create a member name, also ask for personal details. These details are then often sold on to companies to aid in the marketing and selling of their products.
ii. 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.
iii. 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.
The online piracy can be defined as unauthorized copyright of electronic intellectual property such as e-books, music or videos. This unethical activity occurs when the Internet users use the software and hardware technology in an illicit manner to transfer the electronic intellectual property over the Internet.
For example, some web-based applications such as www.napster.com have enabled large scale exploitation of music samples and audio formats. Software that is available for free of cost on the Internet allows the transfer of music and videos without the authorization of rights holders. Moreover, CD burners and portable MP3 players allow copyright violations to occur rather easily.
E-mail spamming, also known as unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE) involves using e-mail to send or broadcast unwanted advertisement or correspondence over the Internet. The individual who spam their e-mail usually called spammer. Many spammers broadcast their e-mail for the purpose of trying to get people’s financial information such as credit card or account bank numbers in order to defraud them.
The example of fraud using e-mail is spammers will 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. The following picture is an example of phishing e-mail.