Major Issues In Electronic Commerce

Major Issues In Electronic CommerceUser privacy has been a paramount concern on both sides of the transaction from the earliest days of electronic commerce. While the buyers are hesitant about sharing their personal and financial data on ecommerce sites, online sellers are scared of violating regulations and facing wrath of law enforcement agencies that could result in heavy fines or even closure of the business.

Besides privacy, the world of e-commerce has been struggling against freedom of expression, security of intellectual property, and rights, powers, and limitations of marketers for collecting information about consumers on the web.

It is worthwhile to note here that government, law-making and enforcement agencies, and citizen-advocacy groups are still struggling to define and execute workable ecommerce guidelines that will satisfy all parties in the world of commercial Internet.

The issue has further been aggravated by the presence of data collection technologies such as web crawlers, cookies, and web cameras. Computing and networking advancements have also increased the fear of invasion into private lives. The use of technical means for tracking down surfing habits and purchase tendencies of existing and potential consumers by the use of cookies and sniffers for capturing data, while in the course of transimissions, has raised many privacy concerns in the cyberspace. Despite the fact that not all data mining procedures bring harm to consumers, data mining is still a form of intrusion into privacy of someone in the cyberspace.

Requisites of a Good Privacy Policy

Consumers should read the privacy policy of an ecommerce site before disclosing any personal or financial information. The privacy policy should clearly describe all information the website collects, explain why the information is collected, what would be done with the collected information, who all have access to the information and under what circumstances, and describe any control the visitor has over the process.

Moreover, consumers should be able to request their data not be shared and companies must offer notice and choice before data is provided to any third party. A good privacy policy should allow consumers the access to data about them and the ability to correct the mistakes, if any. In addition to that, well-defined procedures must be in a place for settling complaints and resolve disputes.

The Positives

In today’s times, more and more business leaders are of the view that companies that breach privacy of consumers will be punished by the market forces to the extent of business losses and even closure while those who protect privacy will be rewarded with increased sales. This is the primary reason why one could find many businesses that have clearly defined privacy policies on their websites and allow opt-out avenues for site visitors who do not wish to submit personal information online.

Companies that violate their own privacy policies are made to pay heavily by law enforcement agencies due to breach of contracts and deceptive business practices or false advertising.


Privacy is something that needs to be handled with a great sense of caution and diligence by ecommerce sites but that is not the case. Privacy theft is one of the biggest reasons why most consumers are still hesitant to buy online fearing about identity theft and sharing of critical data. The government and law enforcement agencies need to be clear while drafting and executing online privacy laws so that there is no place for malpractices and ecommerce can become the most preferable mode of doing business by everyone in the near future.

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